In 1920, Colonel William Boyce Thompson, a copper magnate and philanthropist, established the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Yonkers, NY. On a trip to Russia a few years prior, Colonel Thompson was shocked by the amount of starvation and impoverished conditions that affected the country. On return to the U.S., he created a mission to find a way to create a sustainable food supply for the growing population. Over the years, the Boyce Thompson Institute has thrived, creating many advances in the field and producing multiple pioneers such as Nobel Prize winner Carleton Gajdusek.
In the 60’s and 70’s the institute made significant advancements in studies concerning plant disease, the effects of air pollution on plants and the conservation of the Hudson River. In 1978, the institute parted ways with Yonkers due to high property taxes and urban pollution. The headquarters was eventually moved to the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
While the BTI continued to flourish in its new home, the once bustling Yonkers property became a quiet, stoic structure, the glass of the empty greenhouses shimmering with memories of the past. Over time, the abandoned building became adorned in graffiti and the green house glass crumbled. Regardless of its condition, the building maintained a haunting beauty, showcasing the magnificent architecture of its time.
Now, almost 40 years later, Design Development has teamed up with Simone Development and Cornell University to re purpose the property and bring the building back to life. Maintaining the integrity of the original institute, BTI will be transformed into a multi-use center. Elements such as a glass structure and creative gardens pay homage to the building initial use. The building will also incorporate a memorial to honor William Boyce Thompson.
Design Development looks forward to breathing new life into this historic property and feels honored to partake in the preservation of a legacy.