Cornell University Upson Hall

Higher Education
Sustainable Design
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Upson Hall

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

Honor Award, Institutional, AIA NYS, 2018
Merit Award, Architecture, AIA NY, 2018

LEED Platinum

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, as part of the rejuvenation of the Engineering Quadrangle.



Higher Education
Sustainable Design


LTL Project Team: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis; Clark Manning, Project Manager; Chao Lun Wang, Debbie Chen
Architects: LTL Architects and Perkins+Will
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Facade Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP FP: ME Engineers
Lighting Consultant: Lumen Architecture
Landscape Architect: Trowbridge Wolf Michaels
Civil Engineer: TG Miller PC
AV / IT / Acoustics: The Sextant Group
Code Consultant: Code Consultants Professional Engineers, PC
Cost Estimator: Faithful + Gould
General Contractor: The Pike Company
Photography: Michael Moran/OTTO


Caulfield, John. "A reconstructed building sets the standard for future rehabs at Cornell." Building Design + Construction. November 6, 2017.

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