Neri Oxman Is Opening a Design and Research Lab in New York

Slated to become part of New York City’s largest life sciences campus, the lab will serve as a hub for the acclaimed MIT professor’s research and design practice.

Neri Oxman at MIT Media Lab. Photography by Tony Luong

A major life sciences campus is coming to Manhattan’s Far West Side in 2024. The eight-story building, developed by The Georgetown Company, will feature more than 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory, research, clinical, and biomedical facilities. The property will be anchored by Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, and the globally renowned designer, scientist, and inventor Neri Oxman, founder of the Mediated Matter group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, will notably develop a new research and design facility there. 

Oxman’s 36,000-square-foot lab will pursue systemic changes in the built environment by realigning design and production methods with the natural world. Fusing technology and biology, the lab will research, design, and implement inventions addressing complex challenges across product, architectural, urban, and planetary scales. (For the full download on Oxman’s practice, we recommend checking out her conversation with Norman Foster about the future of architecture that preceded her landmark solo exhibition at MoMA last year, or diving into her 2016 cover story.) 

787 11th Avenue in Manhattan, where the facility will be located

Biomedical use makes perfect sense for the building, a former auto shop with 60,000-square-foot floor plates that was recently transformed into offices by the architect Rafael Viñoly. Its generous ceiling heights, meanwhile, can easily accommodate specialized laboratory and mechanical equipment. Life sciences is one of the few commercial real estate sectors that expanded in New York during the pandemic as medical research became top of mind; leasing for such facilities doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year. “The pioneering work these scientists and physicians perform cannot be done remotely over Zoom,” adds Jonathan Schmerin, managing principal of The Georgetown Company. “We believe that we’re only scratching the surface of the demand for life science space.”

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