Cornell University has chosen six out of 43 architectural firms to design the core academic building, part of the planned applied sciences campus that the university is developing with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on Roosevelt Island, New York. Cornell plans to select the winner and sign a contract next month.

The finalists are Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago; Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York; Morphosis Architects, Santa Monica; Steven Holl Architects, New York; and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Each firm will be asked to assemble a team and prepare to be interviewed about design plans.

The university says it plans to make this, the first one on the campus, a net-zero building that will set the standard for future developments on the site. Other structures include residences for faculty, staff and graduate students and LEED Silver or higher certified corporate space. In preparation for the design phase, Cornell says it is working with the SOM team that developed the original tech campus proposal “to define an overall campus plan that will serve as the framework for all future new buildings and public spaces.”

“Our goal is that this first building exemplify sustainable design principles, represent a forward-looking attitude and form vibrant and contemplative public spaces that can be expanded through future buildings,” says Cathy Dove, vice president at CornellNYC Tech, the new name for the campus.

Meanwhile, the team’s plans also include building an off-site location this year, prior to commencing construction of the Roosevelt Island campus. The first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus is expected to break ground by the beginning of 2015 and be completed no later than 2017.