Course Syllabus

Advanced Design Studio VI


The World Project Think Tank

Hudson Valley, NY


Spring 2018

Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation

Columbia University


Galia Solomonoff, critic


Galia Solomonoff, AIA,


Local Trip to:   City of Kingston and City of Beacon, New York, Trip Date: March 1, 2018

Kinne Trip to: Los Angeles and San Francisco, USA Trip Dates: March 5 to 9th, 2018




Following a seminar format for the first 2 weeks of the semester, the studio will investigate the emergence and growth of Think Tanks destined to resolve World Problems. Our premise is that as cities and scholarly institutions around the world seek to solve twenty-first century social, technological, and environmental issues, under severe budgetary constraints, the need for cross-disciplinary institutes of study emerges.


These cross disciplinary centers, such as the Santa Fe Institute, the MIT Media Lab, Columbia Earth Institute, Davos Foundation, Berkeley Center for Environmental Research have different shape, structure and architecture. They combine elements of the City with the need to be in Nature.


Our Studio will design a cross-disciplinary center in a 250-acre site in the City of Kingston, NY, which is located 95 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley. The program will be modeled after the planned Herzog De Meuron project for the Berggruen Institute, a think tank, outside Los Angeles. The World Projects Institute and its fellows will aim to alleviate today's most urgent concerns such as climate change, natural resources scarcity, terrorism, and the economic, political and the imbalance in our societies between scarcity and plenty.



Site: the old IBM in Kingston, NY

Program: a new think tank by Herzog De Meuron for the Berggruen Institute outside Los Angeles




The studio shall be divided into 2 segments;

  • Research (02 weeks – Jan 17 to Feb 1)
  • Design (12 weeks – Feb 1 to Apr 28)




Drawing from an array of contemporary and historical examples, the research will examine Think Tanks, from the ancient Monasteries, to today’s Universities Institutes, to cluster of Tech Giants such as Google, operating at regional, national and global scales.


We will model our project program after the Herzog De Meuron project for the Berggruen Institute outside Los Angeles. The studio will travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco to research tech industries in Silicon Valley, Universities and centers of learning.


Design and Program:


After the initial phase of research, the studio will turn its focus to the design of a new “Scholars’ Campus” for The World Projects Institute to be located in a site within the Hudson River Valley one and a half hour north of NYC.


We will study precedent designs for monasteries and universities campuses, and seek to appreciate the site surrounding landscape.  “The mission of the Institute will be to develop and encourage new ideas for a changing world and to propose practical solutions that can transform society—and humanity—for the better.”


The World Projects Institute goal will be to advance ideas, linking the East to the West, past and future, theory and practice, considering architecture design as the key stone of a problem-solving institution.


Main Program Components:


  • 130,000-square-foot Main Institute - meeting spaces and work spaces for 30 to 40 Scholars-in-Residence and 10-30 Visiting Scholars. A 200 and 400-seat lecture theaters.
  • 120,000-square-feet Scholar Village of residential spaces featuring outdoor areas and living gardens.
  • 2,000-square-foot single-story library, conference room, dining and catering areas and additional residential areas.
  • A heavily landscaped area around all buildings will act as a contemplation walk for scholars and visitors.
  • Environmental Energy plant to allow a degree of autonomy from the energy grid.


The studio will travel to Los Angeles and San Francisco to research tech industries in Silicon Valley, Universities and centers of learning.


Design and Site:


A 258-acre former IBM campus property. The site was formerly an IBM hub with about twenty (20) existing office, manufacturing, and assembly buildings, totaling approximately 2.5 million square feet of floor area. The property is currently vacant, and is slated for demolition.


Development Goals:


  • No active partnership with the government
  • Encourage community partnership
  • Attract life and activity
  • Create a sustainable development
  • Satisfy the community expectation for jobs
  • Create a significant design with a wow factor




Kingston, New York was founded in 1652 by the Dutch and was New York State's First Capital. In 2002, Kingston celebrated its 350th Anniversary of its settlement. Kingston is located 95 miles north of New York City. The Dutch settled Kingston, Manhattan and Fort Orange, later Albany.


After some serious trouble with the earlier inhabitants, Kingston prospered. In the early 19th century, Kingston changed from a regional farm town to a new transportation center and gradually became a center of industry, particularly of natural resources that could be used to build cities (cement, bricks, bluestone) In the early 20th century, Kingston's industries faltered as the railroad and highway provided new routes for coal, and Portland cement replaced Rosendale cement and, to a large extent, bluestone.

Over time, new industries came to Kingston, including garment-making, small machine manufacture, and eventually, with the arrival of IBM, computer manufacturing. Taking advantage of the proximity to New York City and West Point which headquarters the US military, IBM built the 250-acre site over the late 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. IBM built, tested, loaded software, and burned in mainframes before delivery to customers worldwide during those years. The facility was IBM's highest rated for power reliability. IBM scaled back and closed most of the facility in the early 1990's as part of several large-scale costing cutting measures. These difficult measures helped them turn the company around later in the 1990s but affected the area very negatively.


Now Kingston finds itself once again creating new industries in such varied products as solar-powered boats, leather goods and handbags, hand-crafted furniture and garments, farm to table foods and beverages, multimedia and tech start-ups, all amid the Hudson Valley landscape which provides beautiful views and agricultural support.




The Spring Semester has 28 scheduled studio meetings.

It meets Monday and Thursday from January 17 to April 27, 2018 from 1.30 to 6 pm.

There will be no meeting on President's Day, February 19th

Midterm Review is on February 23 at 1.30 PM

The studio will visit the Cities of Kingston and Beacon on March 1, 9 am to 5 pm

Kinne Trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco, March 5-9th, 2018

Spring Break is March 12 to 19, 2018

Final Review is on April 30 at 1.30 PM


Course Summary:

Date Details