8.12.2011

Milstein Hall Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Milstein Hall es el primer nuevo edificio construido en los más de 100 años de la renombrada Facultad de renombre de Arquitectura, Arte y Planificación (AAP) de la Universidad de Cornell en Ithaca, NuevaYork. En lugar de crear un nuevo edificio autónomo, Milstein Hall es una adición a los edificios existentes creando un complejo unificado con niveles continuos y espacios interconectados interior y exteriormente. Milstein Hall ofrece 47.000 pies cuadrados adicionales distribuidos en espacios para estudio, galerías de exposición, espacios para la crítica y el auditorio.

AAP (College of Architecture Art and Planning)
Milstein Hall is the first new building in over 100 years for the renowned College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Rather than creating a new free-standing building Milstein Hall is an addition to the AAP buildings creating a unified complex with continuous levels of indoor and outdoor interconnected spaces. Milstein Hall provides 47,000 additional square feet adding much-needed space for studios, gallery space, critique space and the first auditorium solely dedicated to the AAP.

The existing AAP was housed in four separate buildings at the northern edge of the campus, forming the ‘back-side’ of the Arts Quad—detached from its atmosphere yet disengaged from the Falls Creek Gorge to the north. Despite the proliferation of architectural styles, the four buildings share a single typology—the linear, corridor building—segregating the AAP’s activities behind a labyrinth of security codes and dead ends. Milstein Hall offered an opportunity to simultaneously rethink the neglected north side of the Arts Quad and provide a space where the AAP’s interdisciplinary potential could finally be exploited.

Milstein Hall
Milstein Hall connects the second levels of Sibley and Rand Halls with a large horizontal plate.  Typically, the box-modern architecture’s typology par excellence-stands in isolation. Here, it acts as a connector, linking Rand and Sibley and extending over University Avenue to establish an urban relationship to the Foundry. Released from its iconic solitude, it creates one system of buildings that are so coordinated they form a single complex.

Within the box, the building provides a typology entirely absent from the campus: a vast horizontal expanse that provides 25,000 sf. of studio space and flexibility over time. Enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass and a green roof with 41 skylights, this “upper plate” cantilevers almost 50 feet over University Avenue to establish a relationship with the Foundry, a third existing AAP facility. The cantilever is supported by five exposed hybrid trusses designed to balance structural efficiency and maintain open circulation within the large open plan.

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Lifted, the building leaves the figure-ground of the AAP campus intact. Rather than occupying the north side of campus, further obstructing the relationship to the gorge, the building facilitates an open public center for the AAP.

Beneath the lifted box, a half-submerged “lower plate” contains a cluster of public programs -a 253- seat auditorium, gallery space and a 5,000 sf. circular critique spaces – that serve the entire AAP. The roof of the lower plate rises to form a dome, a single manipulation that simultaneously supports the raked auditorium seating, becomes the stairs leading up to the studio plate above, and is the artificial ground for an array of custom fabricated exterior seating pods. The materiality of the lower level, constructed of exposed cast-in-place concrete, adds a contrast to the upper plate’s glass and steel character. However both spaces create frameworks of raw spaces to serve as a pedagogical platform for the AAP to generate new interaction driven by the students’ and faculty’s ambitions and explorations.

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