Weill Cornell Medical College Belfer Research Building

New York, New York, United States

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AECOM Tishman served as CM for the Belfer Research Building, which provides Weill Cornell Medicine with more than 480,000 SF of space to support its translational and clinical research initiatives, doubling the college’s previous research space. Researchers, physician-scientists, educators and students come to the facility from around the globe to collaborate on the latest discoveries and breakthroughs.

The first two floors of the 18-floor building contain classrooms, conference rooms, administrative offices and two lounges, while the 13 floors above house laboratories with an open layout, topped by two mechanical penthouses.

We used BIM early in the project, during constructability review, to coordinate the MEP and structural design – since the project required more pipes, ducts, wires and conduits than a typical office project – as well as to manage building life-cycle costs, pre-plan site logistics and ensure Day 2 maintenance access pathways were maintained. To clear the site, three existing four- and six-story buildings were demolished using small machines and hand tools so as not to disturb the surrounding community. Extremely deep rock excavation was also necessary for the below-grade levels. The New York bedrock on the site is, on average, more than 70 feet deep, starting three feet below existing grade on most of the site. Working at such depths inside a mid-block site required that AECOM Tishman line drill and underpin the surrounding buildings’ footings as well as carefully monitor adjacent structures. Blasting was used for a significant portion of the excavation, which meant that our team managed the permitting and monitoring of all activities and transported 60,000 cubic yards of rock excavated from the site.

We procured a single tower crane to serve the project’s concrete operations and remain on site to lift and place the building’s mechanical plant equipment. To accommodate the extremely tight logistics, the team divided the site into nine sections so that crane operations could be performed while other work safely progressed. Finally, the team implemented the use of the cocoon system, an innovative safety net designed to provide the utmost level of protection to construction workers and the Upper East Side community.