Located in picturesque Ithaca, New York, the new hall is the first addition to the College of Architecture in over 100 years. With respect to the historic campus, OMA wanted to create a light structure that would not only connect the campus literally, but also metaphorically with modern architecture. The cantilevered structure unifies the pre-existing buildings, while creating much needed additional space.
The studio area of the new hall on the second level, cantilevered over University Avenue, adds 25,000 square feet of space for students. The green roofed addition is enclosed with glazed floor to ceiling glass to flood the studios with natural light. An additional 41 skylights dot the roof to maximize as much natural light as possible.
Within the entire hall, a highly sophisticated Lutron lighting system was installed with daylight sensors to balance daylight and artificial lighting. The studios use passive cooling in summer months from ceiling beams that are chilled with nearby lake water. A concrete radiant floor keeps it warm in the winter.
Beneath the cantilevered volumes, a domed 253 seat auditorium is surrounded by a curving common area used for critiques. Clad in concrete and plywood, the raw materials and furnishings were used to inspire the young students.
The Milstein Hall unifies the existing buildings in Cornell’s College of Architecture, while employing modern green practices that will inspire its students.