Cornell University, Mary Donlon Hall

Ithaca, New York

  • FIRM

    HOLT Architects, PC


    Cornell University, Planning, Design & Construction, and Campus Life

  • AREA

    16,600 sq.ft.





This six-story, freshman-only residence hall originally was built in the 1960s and has a unique modern curvilinear form. The existing first floor was configured in a series of separate rooms that did not achieve Cornell’s objective of promoting a sense of openness and community for the almost 500 students living there. In addition, the common spaces had not been ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$49.00FEATURED IN2004 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYResidence Halls/Lounges in a number of years, and they had become tired and dated in appearance.

By removing the enclosure around existing rooms, the renovation created large common spaces for the building’s residents including a multipurpose room for TV viewing, seminars and meetings; a glass-enclosed library that includes study space; a lounge with a piano for musical and other social functions; and a recreation/gaming area.

The new interior was designed to give the entire area a cohesive visual identity and an aesthetic update, taking cues from the building’s modern design. The color scheme and furnishings reinterpret the 1960s for today’s students with large expanses of bright colors and modern, durable materials.