“ . . . this serves as a model for universities who want to further engage with their urban surroundings . . . universities are economic development engines . . . the program, placement and investment is good . . .”
Cortex is a model for a university-affiliated innovation district that harnesses a single urban location to build a culture of collaboration and discovery. In contrast to past models of research parks as isolated suburban enclaves, the plan for Cortex recognizes the equal importance of function, community, and artistry. Each building, each lobby, each green space, is intentionally designed and choreographed so that people bump into each other, share ideas, and create connections. The model for Cortex relies on a mix of uses that extends beyond strict research functionality. Alongside lab and office space is a growing community of retail, housing, and open space that creates a dynamic live-work district. The idea of community is deeply rooted in public space. The Commons, which was completed in the fall of 2015, is planned as a vibrant hub of activity with farmers markets, live music, yoga classes, and networking events intentionally-designed to bring people together. Architecturally, the plan revitalizes historic industrial buildings, opening them up to create dynamic and open work areas to support flexible workplace arrangements and a maker-economy mindset.
“Cortex is an important model of a successful university-affiliated innovation district that reflects the university’s academic goals and aspirations while making the region a stronger and more vibrant place for all,” says Henry S. Weber, Washington University in St. Louis.
Ayers Saint Gross; also Wexford Science & Technology, LLC