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Success Story | Zero-energy Building Collaboratively Designed Using Digital BIM Methodology

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Morphosis Architects Embraced BIM to Design Cornell Tech’s New Academic Headquarters

New York, United States

The Project

Cornell Tech contracted Morphosis Architects to design and develop the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, the first building to be constructed at their new technology and entrepreneurship campus on Roosevelt Island in New York. The Bloomberg Center is a four-story, 160,000-square-foot building that will be utilized as Cornell Tech’s academic headquarters. To successfully complete the project, Morphosis needed to implement a BIM solution to meet the requirements of all stakeholders and maintain the project schedule. Setting a new standard for sustainable academic buildings in New York, the Bloomberg Center is designed to achieve net-zero energy and a Platinum LEED rating.

Supporting Unified BIM and Information Mobility

Morphosis implemented an extensible authoring platform that supports a unified BIM methodology with ProjectWise®, MicroStation®, and OpenBuildings Designer. Equipped with a BIM solution, the design team created a holistic view of the building and provided stakeholders with a single source of information for the project – from early concepts through construction administration.
A federated BIM approach enhanced communication, improved data sharing among consultants and contractors, built trust among stakeholders, and helped the team keep construction on schedule. Morphosis required all major engineers and designers to provide a BIM model of their contributions prior to the start of fabrication and construction. Bentley’s information mobility support facilitated the integration of these models, even with models that were created with third-party platforms, to create a comprehensive model. This BIM model enabled an open dialogue among all stakeholders that eliminated miscommunication in preconstruction.
Watch the project’s video presentation here:


Delivering an Innovative Design Efficiently and Affordably

The successes achieved in design and construction of The Bloomberg Center have been directly attributed to the project team’s collective investment in a comprehensive BIM process. It allowed the team to have a single source of project information that easily shared relevant design information with project consultants and contractors in real-time, increasing the team’s productivity and reducing the staff needed to design, document, and coordinate deliverables.
Moreover, by using BIM to help coordinate the entire construction process, Morphosis was able to identify and resolve many building system clashes prior to construction. The resulting unified BIM model minimized the number of field conflicts and drastically reduced the added costs and schedule delays associated with in-field modification and subcontractor rework.
Bentley applications also helped the design team compare options to make informed decisions. The designers quickly created multiple iterations of a conceptual infrastructure design model with sufficient engineering content to effectively evaluate and compare design alternatives. Similarly, on the energy front, Morphosis used Bentley software to run analytical energy simulation models that accurately test and estimate the building performance of different design options.

Fulfilling a Grand Vision

Aligning with Cornell Tech’s inter-disciplinary academic mission, the design of The Bloomberg Center merges site and building planning, engineering, and architecture into an integrated and performative solution that achieved desired energy efficiencies. The all-electric building includes an energy canopy supporting a solar panel array that maximizes the site’s energy performance while shading the roof surface of the building to support thermal regulation and reduce load. Other sustainability measures include a geothermal well system, a rainwater collection tank for building and site use, and smart building technology to control building engineering systems. By utilizing the Bentley solution, Morphosis was able to deliver an exceptionally designed and environmentally sustainable facility, meeting and exceeding Cornell Tech’s expectation of a singular, revolutionary complex.

BIM Software Used:

OpenBuildings Designer


  • The building’s innovative design controls core systems through its sustainability measures, including a geothermal well system, a rainwater collection tank, and smart building technology.
  • By using a federated BIM methodology, the design team created a holistic view of the building and provided a single source of information for the project – from conceptual designs to construction administration.
  • This comprehensive BIM strategy improved communication and data sharing among consultants and contractors, built trust with stakeholders, reduced costs, and kept construction on schedule.

quote“For over two decades, Bentley’s modeling platforms have been central to Morphosis’ development and delivery of highly innovative, award-winning architectural projects.”

Cory Brugger,
Director of Design Technology,
Morphosis Architects

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