Cornell University, Rockefeller Hall

Ithaca, New York

Rockefeller Hall, originally constructed in 1904, contains laboratory, classroom and office space. Prior to the recent renovation effort, the fourth floor lay mostly vacant as an underutilized storage space. The design inserts a modern learning and office environment for the Asian-American Studies and Latino Studies program.

The fourth floor contains a dramatic space ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCITATIONSilver CitationFEATURED IN1998 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYAdministrative Areas/Offices by a double row of exposed, heavy timber columns and overhead framing members. The 37-degree pitch of the roof deck reaches a ridge-line height of more than 21 feet above the center of the volume.

Taking advantage of the unique architectural character of the space, the layout groups smaller office spaces along the more enclosed structural bay east of the columns, and places the larger, more open learning centers in the wider bay west of the columns. The program also provides shared conference rooms, computer labs, office support space and handicapped-accessible restrooms.

Two rows of roof windows cascade natural light into the previously windowless space. Along the east exposure of the roof, a low range of operable roof windows bring light and natural ventilation into the offices. A second row of fixed roof windows closer to the ridge lights the main circulation zone and brings diffused light into the learning centers.

"Nice use of color, light and texture; creative use of space."—1998 jury