76 interiors+sources september2017 interiorsandsources.com
Today’s educational paradigm embraces the idea that learning is often a social exercise. To that end, the design of many schools and universities now includes more relaxed, collaborative spaces for active learning outside the classroom.
A perfect (and stunning) example of this approach is The Roy and Diana
Vagelos Education Center (VEC), a new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate
education building in Northern Manhattan that opened its doors in August 2016.
Designed by the New York-based interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio
+ Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect, the innovative
medical and educational facility consists of a 14-story glass, concrete, and
steel tower that incorporates technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration
spaces, and a modern simulation center to reflect how medicine is taught,
learned, and practiced in the 21st century. The design seeks to reshape the
look and feel of the traditional medical center, as well as to create spaces that
facilitate the development of skills essential for modern medical practice.
“The concept behind the project was to create a continuous space that
facilitates collaboration and participation, as well as linking several different
types of environments, whether they be more intimate or social,” explained
Scott Baillie-Hinojosa, senior lighting designer and junior associate at Tillotson
Design Associates, the lighting design firm of record.
The defining characteristic of the VEC is the “Study Cascade”—a network
of social and study spaces distributed along an exposed, interconnected vertical
staircase that extends the height of the building and encompasses 100,000
square feet of high-tech medical and scientific facilities. The alcove interiors of
the Study Cascade, designed to be conducive to collaborative, team-based
learning and teaching, open onto south-facing outdoor spaces and terraces.
The design takes advantage of sweeping views of the Hudson River and the
Palisades. The building also integrates a range of sustainable features—including
locally sourced materials, green roof technologies, and an innovative mechanical
system that minimizes energy and water use—and the façade utilizes ceramic
By Robert Nieminen | Photography by John Muggenborg
➤ continued on page 78
The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center in Manhattan reimagines
how medical school facilities look and function, day or night.
LEFT The defining
characteristic of the
VEC is a network
of social and study
along an exposed,
that extends the
height of the building.
Embracing the paradigm
that learning is often
a social exercise, the
new Roy and Diana
Center features casual,
like this area with