Program and Courses

Executive Education participants take a hardhat tour of the World Trade Center site. photo / Nancy Borowick
CEO and principal Carla Swickerath leads Executive Education participants on a tour of Studio Daniel Libeskind. photo / Nancy Borowick
Robert Hammond, executive director and cofounder of Friends of the High Line, discusses the vision and early development of the project. photo / Nancy Borowick
A behind-the-scenes tour of the recently opened World Trade Center Transportation Hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava. photo / Nancy Borowick
A visit to the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with presentations by senior officials. photo / Nancy Borowick
Tour of Jazz at Lincoln Center with Todd Barkan, artistic administrator, and translation by Shixin Chen, with Executive Education participants. photo / Robert Balder
On the main stage in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. photo / Robert Balder
Ithaca-based classes, which are held in Milstein Hall (designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA), included a presentation by Gilbert Delgado, AIA, Cornell University architect. photo / William Staffeld
Certificates of completion are presented by Dean Kent Kleinman in the auditorium of Milstein Hall. photo / William Staffeld


  • Principles of Mixed-Use Development: Traditions and Innovations in New York City

    With the development of Rockefeller Center in the 1930s, a new vision of urban, mixed-use development was initiated in midtown Manhattan that continues to be relevant today. The diverse range of uses and functions can be seen in contemporary real estate developments from Tokyo to São Paulo. In New York City, a new generation of projects has continued to advance this typology and will be presented, and may include the new World Trade Center, Time Warner Center, Hudson Yards, and Atlantic Terminal/Pacific Place in downtown Brooklyn.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Insights on how these mixed-use projects are planned, designed, constructed, and operated, especially within the complexities of New York City's zoning rules and regulations;
    • An understanding of the range of programmatic uses, functions, and spatial requirements for each component within a mixed-use project;
    • A critical assessment on the need to integrate large-scale, mixed-use developments into the existing urban fabric, and enhancement of public transportation systems (subways, buses, regional rail, bicycles, etc.);
    • An appreciation of the opportunities and challenges associated with the planning and development of these highly complex and multi-year projects.
  • Designing for Resilience: New Approaches for Buildings and Infrastructure

    Since Super Storm Sandy struck in October of 2012, climate change has become a critical topic of discussion at all levels of government, and also among design professionals. Immediate action was required to prevent further loss of life and property. This new set of priorities has brought together a diverse range of design disciplines to collaborate on innovative solutions to mitigate future risks and enhance the resilience of the New York metropolitan area, especially its 500+ miles of waterfront.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Familiarity with how to apply sustainability and resilience principles and practices;
    • Knowledge of various design solutions that address climate change by increasing overall resilience and the reduction of risk;
    • Introduction to the latest projects in New York City, including specific building retrofits and district-wide interventions to reduce risk (special focus on lower Manhattan).
  • Case Study: The Making of the High Line

    This case study explores the conversion of an aging and unused elevated rail viaduct spanning over 1-1/2 miles of Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood into one of the most beloved parks in New York City, now called the High Line. It has exceeded all expectations and stimulated dozens of new developments along its perimeter, as well as defined a totally new park typology. In addition, it has stimulated similar park projects around the world and become a symbol of creative urban regeneration.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Insights on community activism, and engagement of civic leaders to preserve an elevated railway from demolition;
    • Evidence of the power of innovative design to inspire a new vision of public space that overcame initial opposition by local real estate interests;
    • Understanding of the level of expertise deployed in the planning, design, and construction of the park;
    • Demonstration of how public financing can stimulate private investment and the creation of a new generation of civic amenities.
  • The Present and Future of Tall Building Design

    The recent advances in computer software and its computational capabilities has led to a new generation of building forms, façades, structures, and materials that are dramatically influencing the skylines of cities across the globe. In New York City, these advances have contributed to both new commercial towers, but also to the unanticipated growth of ultra-luxury condominiums — especially directly south of Central Park — some of which are more than 400 meters tall.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Understanding of New York City's zoning, land use, and related development controls which foster the construction of tall and super-tall buildings;
    • Insight into the ways tall buildings are designed, built, and operated within the constraints of New York City (e.g., fire safety, egress, seismic, and other factors);
    • Familiarity with new construction techniques for a range of building typologies, especially steel frame construction, reinforced concrete, as well as hybrid structures (modular and/or precast);
    • Appreciation for the influence of environmental and sustainability parameters on the design of building systems.
  • History and Assessment of Privately Owned Public Space

    In 1961, New York City created a new type of zoning incentive that stimulated the development of what is now known as "Privately Owned Public Space" or POPS. The city offers zoning bonuses in the form of additional square footage to private developers in exchange for publicly accessible plazas, arcades, and atriums (typically built at street level). Over the past four decades, this policy has generated more than 500 POPS across the city. Some have become world-class models of urban design and others have utterly failed.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Familiarity with the principles of the New York City Zoning Code and the incentive policies that have influenced a broad variety of public spaces;
    • Critical perspective on the pros and cons of POPS, and examples of innovative urban design;
    • Understanding the financial benefits of POPS and how property owners and designers have influenced urban form, and in some cases created dramatic economic drivers (e.g., the Apple Store at the GM Building, 59th Street, Manhattan).
  • Historic Preservation of Urban Districts

    Before the destruction of Pennsylvania Station in 1964, New York City faced the opportunities and challenges of adapting historic buildings to serve current and future needs. Some areas like SoHo, once a vibrant manufacturing and mercantile district in lower Manhattan, have been fully transformed to accommodate a vibrant array of new uses by utilizing their existing stock of historic buildings. Today, SoHo supports a vast range of activities including commercial, retail, residential, entertainment, hospitality, and cultural.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Appreciation of the potential for preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, including their districts;
    • Identification of ways to make existing and historic structures meet sustainable and/or LEED guidelines;
    • Insights on market and design factors that generate profitable reuse projects/programs;
    • Knowledge of special factors of construction, from hidden conditions and hazardous materials to anticipating specialized tools and trades.
  • Case Study: Development of the World Trade Center

    During its initial planning in the 1960s, the World Trade Center (WTC) represented a dramatic vision of global trade and commerce. With its destruction on September 11, 2001, it also became a symbol for hope and recovery in New York City and abroad. This case study reflects on the process of its rebuilding, which encompasses the entire range of large-scale urban development challenges, from community participation to major improvements in intermodal transportation.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Understanding of political and real estate interests in the overall development process, including governmental recovery funding and the use of private insurance proceeds that provided the financial capital for its rebuilding;
    • Insights on the selection processes for the designers of the WTC Master Plan, and the collaborations (and disagreements) between multiple architectural firms;
    • A critical perspective on the organizational capacity required to phase the construction of more than 1.2 million square meters of new commercial and mixed-use development;
    • Demonstration of community engagement, including the active involvement of victims' families and other stakeholders.
  • Designs for an Aging Population: New Approaches to Independent and Assisted Living

    As both domestic and worldwide demographics continue to mature, ever greater percentages of our population will require new forms of housing, in some cases even whole new communities. These requirements call for different housing solutions and amenities, as well as greater access to medical and emergency support services.

    Learning Outcomes

    • An understanding of the range of housing typologies appropriate to seniors today, from single family units through large-scale retirement communities;
    • Insights on various strategies that allow seniors to "age in place," thereby minimizing cost and disruption to their lives and that of their families;
    • Exposure to new housing construction techniques, including new forms of multifamily housing;
    • Appreciation for active lifestyles that promote health and wellness;
    • Knowledge of best practices for senior living.
  • Transit Oriented Development: A Sustainable Approach to Mobility and Community Development

    With greater importance placed on meaningful reductions in our overall carbon footprint which will reduce our impact on climate change, the spatial relationships between transit systems, places of employment, and residences become critical in achieving our sustainability goals. The need for innovative solutions that can integrate public transit systems within existing communities is one of the foremost challenges of the 21st century, especially in locations like New York City that have high infrastructure and operating costs.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Exposure to new models of urban development that focus on the diversity of needs and uses (housing, education, healthcare, employment, open space, etc.), and their spatial arrangement in creating livable communities;
    • A critique of transportation modes most suitable to effectively solving urban mobility problems;
    • An understanding of how housing density impacts the feasibility and long-term viability of transit systems;
    • Familiarity with the leading case studies incorporating transit oriented development principles.
  • Case Study: New High Tech Campus (Cornell Tech)

    The new Cornell Tech campus currently under construction at Roosevelt Island will open in the fall of 2017 and be unlike any ever created in higher education in the U.S. It's designed to create a staging ground for what's next: part space to explore the potential of technology, part urban nexus for fast-tracking tech solutions that will impact New York City and the world.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Understanding of the core principles driving the development of the tech campus, especially the advancement of new technologies and sustainability practices;
    • Design concepts associated with new forms of collaboration, especially between academics in applied science and private industry;
    • Insights into critical elements of the campus master plan that will be based on a net-zero energy academic building program, including new student and faculty housing based on principals associated with "passive house" design.

Sample Nine-Day Program

Example only: Courses and schedule to be determined in consultation with client.

  Morning Midday Afternoon Evening
SAT Travel day: Arrive in New York City from China or other U.S. destination.
SUN Introductions
Overview and welcoming remarks
Lunch at World Financial Center Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan Kick-off dinner
MON Historic Preservation of Urban Districts Lunch at AAP NYC
Thematic lunch lecture
Principles of Mixed-Use Development Office tour and dinner
TUE Case Study: The Making of the High Line Lunch at AAP NYC
Thematic lunch lecture
Walking Tour of the High Line and Chelsea District Dinner and boat tour of New York Harbor
WED History and Assessment of Privately Owned Public Space Lunch at AAP NYC
Thematic lunch lecture
Case Study: New High Tech Campus (Cornell Tech) Office tour and dinner
THU Designing for Resilience Lunch at AAP NYC
Thematic lunch lecture
Transit Oriented Development Office tour and dinner
FRI Case Study: Development of the World Trade Center Lunch at AAP NYC
Thematic lunch lecture
Site and Building Tour of World Trade Center Complex Office tour and dinner
SAT Free time / museum tours Lunch on your own Free time / museum tours Depart NYC
Arrive Ithaca
SUN History of the Cornell Campus Lunch Walking Tour of the Cornell Campus Dinner
MON Shop-studio Interplay in Design Iterations Lunch lecture:
Admissions at Cornell
Developing a Studio Culture Depart Ithaca
Arrive NYC
TUE Travel day: depart New York City for China or other U.S. destinations.