Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

6,700 square feet

Academics, Historically Sensitive

One of the top-ranked programs of its kind in the country, the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University was constrained from growing by the size of its physical facilities.

The main studio was located in a large, vaulted ceilinged space on the top floor of Kennedy Hall, designed by Gwathmey Siegel in 1992. The studio could accommodate only 100 student stations, and there was no possibility of lateral expansion. For the continued success of the program, the department needed to add space for approximately 40 more students.


HOLT developed a solution that was both bold and simple: insert a mezzanine tray within the space, preserving the overall feeling of the great vault while capturing some of the space within the 3-story volume. The design is a light, open construction of round, metallic-finished steel columns, and wood railings on stainless steel fittings with custom etched glass balustrades. At each end of the mezzanine a straight-run stair of Brazilian cherry treads and glass risers connects to the main studio floor. The project included enhancements to the HVAC systems and studio lighting, as well as all new furnishings throughout.


For more information about this project contact Graham L. Gillespie, AIA:

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