Cornell Upson Hall

Upson Hall

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
Completed 2017
160,000 sq. ft.

How can the gut renovation of a 1950’s concrete-framed building set a campus standard for energy efficiency while establishing a new, open and transparent image for an engineering school? How can a custom and high-tuned façade be made from traditional and durable materials? These were the challenges that the interdisciplinary team of LTL Architects, Perkins+Will, Thornton Tomasetti and ME Engineers addressed in the renewal of Upson Hall. The new 1’-6” façade transforms the ribbon-window modernist educational building into a contemporary, energy efficient and flexible research laboratory. 3 different terracotta profiles change from the lower floors to upper floors to accentuate shadow patterns and reflect the stratified rock of the local geology. Yellow vertical panels reference the original façade color, while white angled jambs and sills maximize daylight reflection into the interior. Larger expanses of glass are reserved for the new cantilevered public spaces at the corners, inviting the campus into the interior. In re-purposing a post-WWII building, the Upson Hall project transforms a work of international modernism into a highly tuned, site specific building, setting precedent for the rejuvenation of the Engineering Quadrangle.

Project Team: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis; Clark Manning, Project Manager; Chao Lun Wang, Debbie Chen
Architect of Record: Perkins + Will
MEP FP: ME Engineers
Structural Engineer / Sustainability Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti
Lighting Consultant: Lumen Architecture
Landscape Architect: Trowbridge Wolf Michaels
Civil Engineer: TG Miller PC
AV / Acoustics: The Sextant Group
Code Consultant: Code Consultants Professional Engineers, PC
Photography: Michael Moran

Ellen James Mbuqe. “Retooling for Success.” Cornell Engineering Magazine. Winter 2015.