Ithaca College, Center for Health Sciences

Ithaca, New York

  • FIRM

    HOLT Architects, PC


    Ithaca College

  • AREA

    92,000 sq.ft.





The Center for Health Sciences brings together academic programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and exercise and sports sciences, with clinical settings for practical experience in each discipline. The architectural challenge was to provide distinct identities for the two separate populations—students and clinic patrons—while functionally integrating the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$136.00FEATURED IN2000 Architectural Portfolio for the benefit of both groups.

The site was selected for its proximity to existing program space: exercise and sports-sciences offices and laboratories in Hill Center, the campus gymnasium; and physical and occupational therapy offices, and the speech and hearing clinic in Smiddy Hall. Connecting directly to Smiddy Hall on two levels, the building replaces a parking lot to define the southwest corner of the main campus quadrangle. The public entrance to the clinics faces parking to the west, and an existing pedestrian thoroughfare from residences to classes defines the academic entrances on the east end.

The outer wrapper of brick on the south and west facades creates visual integration with the brick of Smiddy Hall and Hill Center, while limestone cladding on the north sets up a dialogue with the cast-in-place concrete facade of Dillingham Center across the quad. The first level of the building is cut into the slope of the hillside campus, buried on the south side but exposed to the green space on the north.

Within, a three-story atrium is the organizing space of the public side, with an open, cascading scissors stair that links the levels vertically and horizontally. A broad, north-south spine on the east organizes the academic spaces, with parallel corridors connecting back to the atrium. Under a sloping roof on the west end of the building, a large exercise room, together with adjacent aerobic studio and support facilities, forms the Wellness Clinic for Exercise and Sports Sciences. The top floor, occupied by the physical therapy and occupational therapy clinics, and the Gerontology Institute, has a raised monitor over its center section to bring clerestory lighting to the large interior spaces. Throughout the structure, the emphasis is on openness and spatial continuity to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

Photographer: ©Tom Watson