November 14, 2019
NYC Builds Bio+ November 2019 Quarterly Breakfast: Rockefeller University’s River Campus

The NYC Builds Bio+ November Quarterly Breakfast meeting will highlight Rockefeller University’s River Campus, the latest spectacular development undertaken by one of New York City’s foremost academic research institutions.  Under construction since 2015, the new two-acre campus provides over 160,000 square feet of space – including laboratories, conference rooms, and common areas.  By building on university-owned air rights over the FDR Drive, the project allowed Rockefeller to expand its footprint by two acres and create a green roof accessible from the existing campus.  The centerpiece of the River Campus, a 750-foot long research building, is designed to help foster collaboration between scientists and to be easily reconfigurable as needs evolve.

The project is notable for the unusual method of construction.  In 2016, a barge-mounted crane installed the building’s 19 prefabricated steel-and-concrete “modules,” some weighing more than 1.5 million pounds, in a series of overnight lifts above the FDR Drive.  A short video of the construction can be seen here.

Participants in the November Quarterly breakfast will tour the new River Campus after the program.

The program will also include a discussion of the ten common mistakes that developers make when planning for lab use and will look at creative ways of re-purposing existing buildings to become user friendly flexible lab build outs.


8:00am – 8:30am Refreshments and Networking
8:30am – 8:45am Welcome and Overview of the Meeting/Tour

  • Nancy J Kelley, President & CEO of Nancy J Kelley + Associates
  • Mitchell Simpler, PE, FACEC, Managing Partner, Jaros, Baum & Bolles

8:45am – 9:15am Designing a Tenant-Friendly Shell and Core Lab Building

  • Don Crotty, Senior Vice President, Life Sciences Center of Excellence, Skanska USA Building, Inc.
  • Mark S. Reed, Principal, LAB/Life. Science. Architecture, Inc.

In order to support and sustain a vibrant life sciences community, a healthy stock of lab-ready shell and core buildings is a necessity. Too often, developers over-guess the true needs of their tenants and invest in unnecessary infrastructure and design features. A truly tenant-friendly building can save landlords and their tenant base significant costs. This discussion will address ten common mistakes that developers make when planning for lab use and will look at creative ways of re-purposing existing buildings to become user friendly flexible lab build outs.

9:15am – 9:30am A Model for Adaptive Reuse: The Collaborative Research Center at Rockefeller University

  • Paul Broches, Partner, Mitchell Giurgola
  • Jillian Sheedy, Senior Associate, Mitchell Giurgola

Many institutions today are confronted with the challenge of how to deal with outdated structures. The Collaborative Research Center is a prime example of how aging buildings can be sustainably transformed into state-of-the-art centers for advanced scientific research. The project involved the complete interior and exterior renovation of two early 20th century buildings from 1917 and 1929, and the construction of a new bridging building that joins the two sites. The revitalized project creates one unified complex with state-of-the-art open laboratory spaces and new common areas designed to promote collaboration and intellectual exchange.

This talk will explore the construction challenges associated with building in and connecting existing campus landmarks, the complexities of modern lab planning to meet state-of-the-art needs, and how two existing buildings can be transformed into a high-performing contemporary hub for advanced scientific research.

9:30am – 10:00am Panel Discussion re Design and Construction of the Rockefeller River Campus

  • Bassam Kamati, Partner, Rafael Vinoly Architects
  • Andrea Lamberti, Partner, Rafael Vinoly Architects
  • Curt Zegler, Vice President/Construction Executive, Turner Construction Company

10:00am – 11:00am Tour of the Rockefeller River Campus

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