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Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus has added two acres, four buildings, expansive laboratory space, beautiful landscaping, and inspiring East River views to Rockefeller University's existing 14-acre campus. The University achieved this feat by using Rockefeller's air rights over the FDR Drive and constructing the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, the centerpiece of the new campus, above the Drive.

The Kravis Research Building provides Rockefeller investigators with two long floors of state-of-the-art barrier-free laboratory space, where one lab flows into the next. The campus features a landscaped roof with two low pavilions—the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Dining Commons and the Hess Academic Center. In addition, a center for scientific exchange, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen BioLink, was built at the northern end of the campus, adjacent to the President's House. The Kellen BioLink is a venue for scientific cross fertilization and information sharing among Rockefeller scientists, as well as with scientists at other institutions, especially neighboring New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The SNF–DR River Campus has merged seamlessly with the existing grounds, and the East River has become a significant element of campus life. The river, flowing beyond our campus into the wider world, serves as an inspiring backdrop for Rockefeller's work.

Read the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s press release about this exciting project here.



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Addressing the university's critical need for modern laboratory space, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus incorporates 135,600 square feet of open-plan labs on two levels, while simultaneously extending the university's footprint by two acres and bringing the campus to the edge of the East River. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the structure's green rooftop connects to the existing campus landscaping.

The project, conceived as part of a master planning process begun in 2013, also includes a dining commons, an academic center, a conference center, and gardens. These amenities will further enrich the university's highly collaborative research environment.

Construction began in 2015. To build over a busy urban highway, the steel superstructure was constructed offsite and transported by barge to the Rockefeller campus in 19 steel modules, each weighing as much as 1.5 million pounds.

As part of the project, the university also repaired a failed section of the seawall along the East River and improved and beautified the public esplanade between 64th and 68th streets. We added new landscaping, seating, lighting and a noise barrier, and created a $1 million endowment will ensure esplanade landscaping will be maintained in perpetuity. To help guide public improvements the university collaborated closely with Community Board 8, City Council Member Ben Kallos, and the Friends of the East River Esplanade, a conservancy devoted to encouraging the restoration and renovation of the full length of the esplanade.

Eighteen Rockefeller laboratories are moving into the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, the centerpiece of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus. This building, with a long, low profile, can accommodate over 600 scientific personnel. The large floor plans are designed to encourage collaboration between scientists, and by eliminating the interior structural columns and mechanical shafts found in most older buildings, the laboratory layouts may be modified to serve future research requirements.

The new campus was formally dedicated on May 17, 2019.

The SNF-DR River Campus includes:
Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Dining Commons
Hess Academic Center
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen BioLink
Lulu C. and Anthony Wang Gardens
Fascitelli Family Great Lawn
Richard Salomon Family River Promenade
Sze-Donohue Family Amphitheater
Carson Family Commons

Design and Construction Team:
Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects
Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Construction Manager: Turner Construction

Official ribbon-cutting ceremony
Official ribbon-cutting ceremony
Official ribbon-cutting ceremony
Official ribbon-cutting ceremony
Before and after shot of the SNF-DR River Campus Before and after shot of the SNF-DR River Campus
Before and after shot of the SNF-DR River Campus

Videos

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Press Coverage

River Campus Celebration Overhear Photo

The River Campus is open for business

June 7, 2019
After four years of construction, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus has opened its doors to the community, with several labs already installed in its new research building.
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RU Dedicates SNF-DR

Rockefeller University dedicates Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus

May 20, 2019
The new Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus (SNF-DR) expands the University by two acres and adds critical state-of-the-art facilities.
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River Campus photo

The new River Campus, unveiled

May 8, 2019
Explore this map of the new architecture in Seek magazine.
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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

New Stretch Of East River Esplanade Opens After $15M Renovation

April 24, 2019
The five-block esplanade section brings new seating, planters and bike lane space between East 63rd and 68th streets.
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Amphitheater photo

Rockefeller reaches key milestone in River Campus project

March 15, 2019
The temporary certificate of occupancy from the New York City Department of Buildings is a close-to-last step in the expansion of the university’s campus over the FDR Drive.
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Installation of River Campus structure begins with delivery of first of 19 prefabricated modules

Rockefeller University Team Takes Modular Delivery to New Lengths

Engineering News Record, March 16, 2017
Riverside high-flying acts for Manhattan research building move modular delivery into the 21st century.
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Installation of River Campus structure begins with delivery of first of 19 prefabricated modules

See how Rockefeller University's modular expansion took shape over the FDR

Curbed, September 28, 2016
In June 2016, work got underway on Rockefeller University's modular expansion over the FDR Drive. The first phase of this convention-bending project would see the installation of 19 prefabricated sections over the course of the summer.
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Crane FDR

Rockefeller University Starts Its Expansion Over a Busy Highway

New York Times, June 15, 2016
As part of the expansion of the Rockefeller University, a crane moved the first of several structures into place above the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.
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19 Prefabricated Modules

Installation of River Campus structure begins with delivery of first of 19 prefabricated modules

June 13, 2016
A new phase of the project to extend the Rockefeller University's campus toward the East River begins tomorrow at midnight, when the first of 19 prefabricated sections of the extension's structural skeleton will be lifted into place over the FDR Drive by one of the largest barge-mounted cranes on the East Coast.
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Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of construction on East River seawall repairs

December 11, 2015
The university has started to refurbish the damaged seawall that supports the East River Esplanade between 63rd and 68th Streets as part of the campus extension project. The esplanade will also be improved, with a new bike lane, landscaping, and a noise barrier along the FDR Drive.
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Henry R. Kravis Foundation

The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation provides landmark gift of $100 Million to The Rockefeller University

May 20, 2015
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University, today announced a leadership gift of $100 million from The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation to help create a new laboratory building that will be the centerpiece of the University's major planned campus extension.
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$150 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and David Rockefeller launches major campus extension

November 24, 2014
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University, today announced two leadership pledges of $75 million each from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and David Rockefeller to launch a major extension of the University's campus on the East River.
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NY City Council approves new Rockefeller laboratory building

May 14, 2014
The Rockefeller University's proposal to build a two-story, 160,000 square foot building over the FDR Drive adjacent to its campus passed an important milestone today with the City Council's vote to approve the plan.
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FAQ

What needs of The Rockefeller University are addressed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project?

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project emerged from a master planning process begun in 2012. The goal of the process was to identify the best way to create high-quality laboratory space to meet the changing requirements of researchers, replacing existing facilities that are no longer suited to the demands of modern bioscience. The plans are consistent with the university's intention to maintain its current size. The project will ensure the continuing strength of Rockefeller's transformative research program.

What buildings have been added as part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project?

The centerpiece of the project is the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, housing state-of-the-art laboratory research facilities. Additional buildings and amenities include the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Dining Commons, the Hess Academic Center, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen BioLink, the Lulu C. and Anthony Wang Gardens, Fascitelli Family Great Lawn, Richard Salomon Family River Promenade, Sze-Donohue Family Amphitheater, and the Carson Family Commons.

How was the Kravis Research Building constructed?

To minimize disruptions to commuters and residents, the building's steel skeleton was prefabricated off-site and transported via barge in 19 sections that were hoisted into place during overnight hours. There were brief closures of the FDR Drive, in compliance with Department of Transportation guidelines, during the hours as the modules were installed.

How much new space will the Kravis Research Building provide?

The Kravis Research Building has 135,600 square feet of laboratory space on two floors, enough to accommodate over 600 scientific personnel. The building is designed with open floor plans to enable collaboration and maximize flexibility. By eliminating interior structural columns and mechanical shafts found in most older buildings, the design allows laboratory layouts to be modified to serve new research requirements. Workspaces have stunning views of the East River and will have convenient connections to other research buildings and campus facilities.

How long did it take to build?

Construction began in the summer of 2015 and was completed in 2019. The building was dedicated on May 17, 2019.

What impact has the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project had on The Rockefeller University's beautiful historic campus?

The River Campus was designed to provide substantial new research facilities and community amenities without disrupting the look and feel of the university's existing campus. At two acres in size, constructed entirely in the air rights over the FDR Drive, it has significantly expanded the university's 14-acre campus.

What improvements did Rockefeller make to the East River Esplanade?

As part of the construction project, which has received strong support from the city council and community board, the university agreed to make repairs to the adjacent East River seawall and to improve and beautify the esplanade for the benefit of the greater New York City community. The plan for the esplanade was developed with input from community members and includes new landscaping, seating, a noise barrier, and a designated bike lane. The university is also establishing a $1 million endowment to maintain the landscaping of the esplanade in perpetuity and has contributed $150,000 to Friends of the East River Esplanade, a conservancy devoted to encouraging the restoration and renovation of the full length of the esplanade.

Who are the architects for the project?

The design for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project and the Kravis Research Building was created by Rafael Viñoly Architects, a world-renowned architecture firm whose portfolio includes landmark buildings and public works throughout the world. The landscape architect for the project is Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.

How were the Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project and the Kravis Research Building funded?

The majority of the funding for the construction of the Stavros Niarchos–David Rockefeller River Campus was provided by private donations. More than $342 million was raised in support of the project. In November 2014, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and David Rockefeller provided leadership pledges of $75 million each. Shortly after, the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation pledged $100 million to support the creation of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, the centerpiece of the new campus.

Other splendid Trustee gifts followed: Marlene Hess created the Hess Academic Center; Bob and Anne Bass named the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Dining Commons; Michael Kellen and his family ensured construction of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen BioLink; and Chair emeritus Russ Carson supported the Carson Family Commons in the Kravis Research Building.

The University also received generous Trustee gifts to name other components of the SNF–DR River Campus, including the Lulu C. and Anthony Wang Gardens, the Richard Salomon Family River Promenade, the Fascitelli Family Great Lawn, and the Sze-Donohue Family Amphitheater.