At Cornell Tech, Art Engineered for the Imagination

The students will be unplugged while they’re contemplating. Andrew Winters, senior director for capital projects at Cornell Tech, said there are no outlets or wiring for electronic devices in the room, to encourage people to sit and talk. Part of the art program is to help students, faculty and researchers “get away from what they’re doing day to day,” Mr. Winters said. “Facebook and Pixar offices have secret rooms for people to go do yoga or sleep. We tried to elevate that a little bit.”

In another room, Ms. Taylor — whose work updates the age-old decorative inlay technique called marquetry — has imagined what Roosevelt Island might have looked like in the 19th century. Using more than 10,000 cut-and-painted pieces of wood, she has pieced together vivid panoramic scenes covering the walls of the triangular room. One side depicts a dense thicket of tree trunks. The other two walls portray an abandoned interior caving in at the corners, with vines creeping in, like tentacles, through a window.


Matthew Ritchie’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” ascends four stories through the atrium of the Bloomberg Center.

Maris Hutchinson/EPW Studio

Interested in the constant battle between human innovation and nature’s overwhelming force, Ms. Taylor hopes that her piece, titled “Reclamation,” gives students “perspective in this period of rapid technological change on how we’ve always adapted as a species.”

While these three rooms are intended as intimate spaces for students to meet or retreat, the other two artist installations are meant to animate the busier areas.

Known for using text as raw material, Mr. Riedel has created a black-and-white inkjet print on ceiling panels, titled “Cornell Tech Mag,” flowing overhead from the building’s entrance through the cafe and then across the tabletops. Using what he calls “the…

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