A tour of the Collaborative Research Center

A tour of the Collaborative Research Center


I’m standing here in front of the Collaborative
Research Center at Rockefeller University. You can see over here on the right the old
Smith building, which has been completely gutted and totally renovated into open laboratories. And here on the left, what’s going to be
called the Greenberg building, which links the building the Flexner. It was funded very
generously by Hank and Corrine Greenberg. Now, this project serves two aims. First of
all, it updates some of the real estate on Rockefeller University’s campus which needs
a lot of attention. These buildings were built in 1915, 1925, and some areas have hardly
been renovated since that time. But the second and maybe more important aspect
of this is that it provides space which is designed for interaction and collaboration.
Because here we are in Manhattan and we have a lot of vertical buildings. Those vertical
buildings, of course, mean there’s a lot of isolation between laboratories because
there are many different floors. Here, we had the possibility of joining Smith
and Flexner, which will give us, with the Greenberg linking building, a much bigger
footplate, where we can get six, seven, eight laboratories on the same floor. The idea is that the arrangement of the floors
is such that you’re going to be able see colleagues working on different floors, so
you’re not isolated on one particular floor. You can also see that there’s lots of areas
where you can sit and work, where you will walk into people or people will walk into
you. The whole idea of this space is to provide
places where people will mix with other laboratories, where random collisions can take place, and
where perhaps new good ideas will emerge. This is the floor where you enter into the
Greenberg linking building. One notable feature is you can there’s very open stairs, very
attractive stairs, and they go all the way up the building. This is to encourage people
to actually walk from floor to floor rather than using the elevators. The majority of stairwells on the Rockefeller
campus really serve as fire escapes, they are not attractive places to walk up and down.
That isn’t the case here, these are attractive, and researchers will walk up and down, and
that will provide better opportunities for randomly meeting people. On each floor there are two meeting rooms:
A large one, which is on the corner of the building, with great views over the East River,
and a smaller one, which is actually more towards the center of the atrium. This large room, which I’m sitting in here,
is big enough to take at least 25 or 30, if not more, researchers. So it’s able to take
the biggest research groups that we have on campus. It not only has white boards, but
also a very large TV screen. And this means that you’re not having to make the whole
area dark, you don’t have the complexities of blinds and the like, it means you can switch
more easily from a presentation to a discussion, and maybe if you get a little bored you can
just look out the window and look at the boats sailing by. This is one of the wings of Smith, on the
top floor. You can see that these labs extend the entire length of the wing. Quite a few
different bays, with researchers working two to each bay. So there’s around 20 on each
side of the building, with communal facilities there in the middle. This provides many opportunities
to run into different people. We’ll have different labs actually occupying adjacent
space. Again, those random collisions really matter. This is the coffee bar down on the bottom
floor in the Greenberg connecting building. Not only is this a nice space to sit in, but
out there, when all the building is done, it’s going to be full of chairs and so on
out here in that garden area, which is very, very nice. Once again, a great place to randomly
meet people. It’s more informal, as you can see here, than in the case of Weiss. And then down there, on one floor below, will
be the new auditorium. This is a really important addition to the campus as well. It will be
an auditorium that can take 200 to 250 individuals. I can see this taking over a heavy load of
seminars and lectures. Now that will only be opened up in two years’ time when Flexner
is complete, because actually we’re building Flexner from where the auditorium is located. In thinking about this building, quite a lot
of attention was paid to green features. First of all we used the old building, we didn’t
knock it down. That already saves a great deal of resources. Attention was paid to the
landscaping, these are really very nice gardens that have been added to the campus. And furthermore
this is actually a roof that I’m standing on here, so this is a green roof, which is
also a good thing. But there are many other numerous features
that make it a green-friendly building. It will be LEED-certified, that means that it
will be recognized as a building that’s been built thinking about green principles. This is really a major centerpiece of the
research strategy for the university. This building achieves this really successfully.

4 thoughts on “A tour of the Collaborative Research Center”

  1. Congratulations Rockefeller students/faculty. The building is beautiful and makes an undergraduate like me want to apply 🙂

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