Cornell University, White Hall

Ithaca, New York

  • FIRM

    Peter Gisolfi Associates


    College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell University

  • AREA

    42,755 sq.ft.





White Hall (1867-69) was one of the first permanent structures intended specifically for Cornell’s use. It is one of the “Stone Row” buildings, situated on the northwest corner of the Arts Quad (College of Arts and Sciences).

It originally was designed as three attached buildings, two residence halls flanking a central classroom building with no common circulation. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$210.00CITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior RenovationSUB CATEGORYRenovation parallel masonry-bearing walls and six separate entrances dominated the plan. White defined the Quad’s edge, but the building’s users were disconnected from it.

The intent was that the exterior would not change. The building would be coherent and unified, and would house two-thirds of the departments. The public building would be connected to the quad, the main campus open space, created after White was built. Also, the interior spaces should evoke the past.

Design features: retention of the stone bearing walls and replacement of all floor structure; the building was reconfigured to create classrooms and departmental spaces; the atrium celebrates vertical circulation and is open at every level to the quad; a single-loaded corridor on the first floor serves classrooms; public stairs at both ends of the building; restoration of the original wooden trusses and skylights; interior finishes, colors and materials are new but sympathetic to the dominant style of a 19th-century “Renaissance” building.

“Careful detailing creates beauty and luster to this renovation project.”--2007 jury