SC Johnson College of Business Renovation, Cornell University

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New York, NY
Cornell University
13,000 SF

Until 2018, the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business had a small outpost in midtown Manhattan and on Roosevelt Island. The school leadership decided that a prominent beachhead in Manhattan was necessary to attract the best students and to serve alumni needs. 570 Lexington Avenue, an Art Deco New York City landmark, and previous General Electric headquarters was selected as the new New York City home for the business school. The space is located on the seventh floor of the iconic midtown office tower dating to the early 20th century. The intent was to feel both wholly New York and completely immersed in a uniquely Cornell business environment.

The design is a hybrid that simultaneously celebrates the unique character of the existing building, provides for the specialized teaching requirements, and creates a new and inviting environment for diverse participants. The program includes teaching, meeting, and working spaces. All these spaces are designed to be flexible and serve multiple functions. Classrooms can double in size when required, turn into meeting rooms, and serve distance learning and communication. The large gathering space acts as both a lounge, lecture room and reception space. And small meeting spaces provide places for breakout, private meetings, and collaboration. A café and catering area can also serve a wide range of functions.