Ithaca, New York
Owner: Cornell University
Completion Date: January 2011
Program: A two-story, 5,900-square-foot visitor service and education center on the grounds of Cornell University's botanical garden. The steel-frame structure is perched on the edge of a knoll; the upper level, which opens onto a flat area carved into the side of the slope, houses educational and community spaces such as classrooms, a conference room, and a large multipurpose room. The lower level offers visitor services, including an exhibition hall, a gift shop, and a café. Mechanical spaces are bermed into the hillside.
Design concept and solution: Conceiving the ipe-wood-and-glass pavilion as an extension of the landscape, the architects envisioned the lower level as an active public terrace and the upper level as a more secluded space for the students' academic work. Baird Sampson Neuert designed the ground floor as a transparent, glass-enclosed continuation of the garden's flatlands. A limestone retaining wall that hews to the knoll extends inside to become an architectural feature defining the lobby. The circulation path through the building mirrors the contours of the landscape itself: visitors entering on the lower level pass through the lobby to the rear of the building, where they ascend a staircase that follows the grade of the knoll up to the second-level terrace. The architects favored simple interior finishes, choosing polished concrete for much of the flooring and fir for cabinetry and wall paneling. A wood louver on the lobby facade modulates the light filtering into the building.
Total construction cost: $5.68 million
Location: Cornell Plantations, Ithaca, New York
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Project Architect: Yves Bonnardeaux
Engineer(s): Blackwell Bowick, ME Engineering, T.G. Miller P.C.,
Lighting: ME Engineering
General contractor: Welliver McGuire
CAD system, project management, or other software used: Autodesk Revit
Structural system: Steel by Rochester Structural LLC
Metal/glass curtainwall: Aluminum Framed Glazing System by Kawneer; Operable Vents by Alumicor
Other: Vegetated Roof by Bioroof Systems
Skylights: Supersky Products Inc.
Metal doors: Curries
Wood doors: Algoma Hardwoods
Sliding doors: Dorma
Hinges: Rixson, McKinney
Exit devices: Sargent
Pulls: Rockwood, CR Laurence
Cabinet hardware: Manfred Frank
Display Cases: Hadley Exhibits
Guards & Handrails: Accufab Inc.
Paints and stains: ICI Paints
Floor and wall tile: Apavisa Porcelain (Restrooms)
Operable Partitions: Modernfold
Chalkboards: Platinum Visual Systems
Exterior: Bega, Hess
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: