Cornell University Multidisciplinary Building
Cornell’s proposed Multidisciplinary Building will house the Centers for Cancer Biology and Immunology, the Department of Computational Biology, the Master of Public Health program, and the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. These programs are all working to address urgent global challenges through broad engagement of colleagues across campus and across continents. The building is envisioned as a destination for interdisciplinary research that reflects Cornell’s commitment to sustainability and whose identity embodies the mission of one of the building’s primary occupants; Atkinson Center. These distinct programs overlap at a global scale within the spectrum of health, environmental policy and sustainability. The MBD will be an embodiment of “One Cornell”, providing a research environment that catalyzes discovery in each of these disciplines.
A centrally located public stair anchors the plan and creates strong vertical connection between occupants. Shared meeting and social spaces cluster around the stair at each level inviting researchers and their students to linger and gather over coffee, lunch or intermittent breaks to foster both community and collaboration. The Laboratory layout has also been conceived to promote radical interdisciplinary collaboration between Computational Biology, Cancer Biology and Immunology. The configuration also allows daylight to penetrate deeper within the building and promote views to the surrounding landscape and Botanic Gardens to the north. The transparency between the wet lab, dry lab and computational lab results in stronger visual connection between individuals and reduces energy utilization through the harvesting of daylight. The identity of the proposed building responds to Cornell’s campus, connects to its environmental context and reflects the missions of The Atkinson Center and Master of Public Health Program through the use of natural, local material palette.