Cornell Construction Updates, June 2014

4 07 2014

Three sets of Cornell updates in this post – the law school addition is complete, Klarman Hall excavation is underway, and a picture from the Statler Hall renovation (which Jason just posted about).

The law school addition, by Boston-based Ann Beha Architects and constructed by Welliver, is part of the multi-phased renovation of the law school, which began in 2012. The cost of the renovation is begged at $55-60 million, with 40,000 sq ft of new space and 160,000 sq ft of renovated space. The architects specialize in contemporary additions sympathetic to present facilities – arguably, one of the few parts of Cornell where this was deemed an important matter (looking at you, Hotel School).

The Hotel School addition is phase three of renovations, adding a modern entrance to Statler Hall. The glassy entrance will add 1,619 sq ft at a cost of $2.4 million, and should be complete in time for the fall semester.

Klarman Hall, given its notable location behind Goldwin Smith, is the campus project du jour, sporting 67,500 sq ft of space (33,250 sq ft usable) and a $61 million price tag. Foundation footings will be completed by early august, and foundation pouring by mid September. Final construction will wrap up in December 2015, as posted on the sign below.

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Apparently naming green spaces is fashionable. I thought that Pew Quad and Rawlings Green would be the extent of it.

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Dairy Bar and Bar Argos, 4/2014

15 04 2014

Two of the bars I hit up last weekend. For the former, it was my first time inside the new Stocking Hall (the old one is undergoing renovation, and the project won’t be fully complete until 2015). It was absolutely packed with 4H kids/parents, and Cornell Days kids/parents. To order and receive ice cream was a 40-minute endeavor. But I got my Italian lemon cream cake, and that’s what matters.

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Meanwhile, on the more adult end of the spectrum, this past weekend was also my first time inside Bar Argos, the open-to-the-public bar of the Argos Inn. I had a Cuba Libre that was not overpowering, just the right amount of bite. Drinks here run on the high side of average, but the interior was fairly warm and inviting.
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News Tidbits 1/11/2014: Unhappy Faces on Roosevelt Island

11 01 2014
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Image Property of Cornell University

Full disclaimer: I’ve never been a fan of the tech campus. I’ve also never been a fan of Morphosis/Thom Mayne’s work.

New York is a different creature when it comes to approvals. This isn’t Ithaca, where many folks feel that Cornell’s large presence makes the local community behooved to approve whatever the university wants to build. Here, people tend to be a lot more vocal, and perhaps a lot more negative. Folks in New York are especially wary of Thom Mayne because of his involvement with the 41 Cooper Square project, a building that has been seen as one of the underlying causes of the financial crisis experienced by local college Cooper Union, which has led to an end of their famous “free tuition” policy.

Last month, Cornell revealed the first phase of the tech campus, which Curbed NY has covered in extensive detail. The first phase has three components; 1) a 150,000 sq ft, 4-story building designed by Thom Mayne (the building lower left; the roof is covered with solar panels, or what Thom Mayne calls a “lily pad”) 2) A six-story, 200,000 sq ft “Colocation Building”, which is designed for corporate and school interaction. This is the building to the right, and is designed by another Cornell favorite, Weiss/Manfredi Architects, and 3) The residential building, represented by the tall featureless box. A design has not been finalized, but is being handled by developer Hudson Companies, in conjunction with Handel Architects. This build will house about 350 units, with larger units for faculty. Construction for the residential tower is proposed for a 2015 start. The campus is wrapped in green space by architect James Corner, who designed a campus without walls and to invite the public to check the school out, and all of this using an Skidmore, Owings and Merrill master plan.

Community groups are difficult to please, however. Although the net zero energy aspect was pleasing, complaints were raised about the large loss of trees, a lack of equipment for the hearing-impaired in the new academic building, and a lack of cohesiveness as the result of so many starchitects trying to compete with each other for attention. Regardless of the complaints, construction is supposed to be underway starting this month. New York and Bloomberg have previously stipulated that the first building must be open by 2017, or Cornell will face major penalties.

On the bright side, Cornell’s getting crap tons of money thrown at its New York investments. Following Chuck Fenney ’56′s $350 million donation to the tech campus, former Qualcomm Chairman Irwin Jacobs ’56 gave a $133 million donation last April, and total donations to the tech campus exceed $500 million. Weill Cornell has not been left out by all this tech campus attention; they were the recent recipients of a $75 million donation for cancer research, courtesy of former CEO of Grey Global Group Edward Mayer ’48 and his family.

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Image Property of Cornell University





Stocking and Klarman Hall Progress Photos, 12/2013

7 01 2014

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This photo is probably timed similarly to Jason’s over at Ithaca Builds. Consistent with his analysis, a little bit of scaffolding visible in this image gives indication of the roof work being done to Goldwin Smith, and underground work over east Avenue is closed up, if temporarily. The $61 million dollar token glassy box adds 33,250 sq ft of new usable space.

Note for Cornell visitors – from this Wednesday (Jan 8th) to April 19th, 2015, the southbound lane of East Avenue will be closed to facilitate construction of Klarman Hall. I’d get around to feeling sympathetic, but I had the Thurston Ave. bridge detour my freshman year, and then years of Milstein, so…eh. Deal with it.

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The time difference between photos 1/2 and 3 is about 15 days. I just happened to pass through Ithaca twice in December, for two separate events (the first one though, I was only able to take photos on Cornell campus). I doubt I’ll be as lucky in the next few months.

Stocking Hall phase 2 is underway. Luckily for me, I have a friend that is a food science alum, who sends me all of the email updates. Quoting the one sent this past Thursday:

Phase 2 of the renovation project started several months ago with a focus on getting as much of the slate roof replaced as possible before winter. I think they were able to get about 70% of Stocking re-roofed. Asbestos abatement was the first part of the inside work. Once a floor was abated, Pike [construction company] worked on demolishing all interior walls.  Last Thursday (1/2/14) an independent testing agency certified the air test was safe after the abatement was completed on all floors. We took our first look on Friday.

The basement has been gutted, the first floor has undergone asbestos abatement and will begin demo shortly, the second and fourth floors have been gutted, and the third floor isn’t far along, still in the initial teardown/salvage stage. The renovation of old Stocking is due to be complete in August 2014.





Gates Hall Progress Photos, 12/2013

5 01 2014

 

With an anticipated opening date early in 2014 (slightly behind schedule), the $60 million, 101,000 sq ft Gates Hall project is nearly complete. The work left at this point appears to be completion of the primary entrance structures (the “feet”, to use Jason’s term), a little landscaping, and interior work. Kinda odd to think the discussion of Gates Hall on this blog goes back to nearly the very beginning (and technically, since Bill Gates donated the money in 2006, this project has been in queue for even longer).

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Yet Another Makeover for Statler Hall

16 12 2013

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Another makeover is planned for a section of the Statler, this time the circa 1987 PoMo front entrance space. As noted by Ithaca Builds, the addition, at a cost of $2.4 million, calls for a modernized pop-out addition and entrance on the west face of Statler Hall (the side facing East Avenue) with new landscaping and pedestrian features. The project adds a relatively modest 1,619 sq ft to the Statler, with 319 sq ft on the first floor, and 1,300 sq ft on the second floor. The exhaustive summary of the project is included on their website here, with more renderings here. The timeline for construction is a short three months, May to August 2014.

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This is the third renovation in the series, all by Philly-based KSS Architects. The first phase involved the construction of the Beck Center in 2004, which added 36,000 sq ft and renovated 16,000 sq ft on the east wing of Statler Hall. The second phase added 14,000 sq ft on the south face of the Statler, and was completed in 2010. Since the Hotel School is landlocked with little hope of re-purposing nearby property, the procedure with new structures always involves additions and renovations, rather than totally new buildings as we would see in other schools. The Statler was first built in 1949 on what was previously four homes of faculty row (at one point, a few dozen faculty had homes on Cornell campus, other examples include what was once Grove Place on what is now the Engineering Quad, and another cluster of homes where Savage-Kinzelberg Hall stands today). The auditorium was added to the south end in 1956, and further renovations were undertaken in 1959 and 1968. The hotel tower was added along with this front entrance in 1986/87. If history is any indicator, his will not be the last addition or renovation.





Cornell Likes Having Friends

30 06 2013

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The majority of buildings at Cornell are named for faculty, staff, and alumni with deep pockets. A few others just have generic titles. Occasionally, a building on campus is named for someone with no association with Cornell, except that they helped out the university (usually from a financial aspect). Some of buildings named for “Friends of Cornell”, as Alumni Affairs likes to call them, are detailed below.  One exception I make is that early on, some folks who were Cornell trustees (but had no association otherwise) have buildings named for them, such as Henry W. Sage, John McGraw and Hiram Sibley; but since they served Cornell in an official capacity, I’m excluding them here.

Morrill Hall (1868)  – Like many land-grant institutions, Cornell’s Morrill Hall is named for Justin Smith Morrill, author of the Morrill Act that allowed the sale of federal lands to raise funds for colleges focused on the agricultural and technical trades (some of the other schools include Purdue, Rutgers and MIT; Morrill is known best for this legislation, with his anti-Mormon work a distant second). Morrill had no official association with Cornell, although he did pay a visit to the university at least once, in 1883.

Morse Hall (1890), Franklin Hall (1883) and Lincoln Hall (1888) – In the Gilded Age, engineering and science buildings had the pleasure of being named for “great men” that contributed to the then-present condition of the university and STEM studies. Hence, Samuel Morse (inventor of the telegraph), Benjamin Franklin (politician, scientist, and all around bad-ass), and Abraham Lincoln (president who oversaw the passage of the Morrill Act). Morse Hall burned down, and Franklin Hall became Tjaden Hall (for prominent female architect Olive Tjaden ’25 ) in 1980.

Rockefeller Hall (1903) – Named and partially paid for by John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man in the world at the time (and, proportionately, believed to be the wealthiest man ever). Rockefeller has recently retired from Standard Oil and was just beginning his philanthropies, funding schools he believed to be practical. Rumor has it that he was so disappointed with the (then considered unattractive) appearance of Rockefeller Hall he vowed to never donate another cent to Cornell. Which hardly dampened his funding of institutions.

Fun fact, Walter Teagle, of Teagle Hall fame, was a vice president of Standard Oil a few decades later.

Baker Lab (1923) – Funded by George F. Baker, a sort of Warren Buffet of his time, and one of the wealthiest Americans on the early 20th century. Baker also provided much of the funding for the Harvard Business school, and made his way through the Ivy League with his donations, including Columbia’s Baker Field and Dartmouth’s Baker Library.

Mudd Hall (the west wing of Corson-Mudd Hall, 1982) – Named for Seeley G. Mudd, a prominent philanthropist. The foundation established with his fortune explicitly earmarks donations for the construction of academic buildings – the wikipedia list shows no less than 30 schools that have benefited from his funds. Otherwise, Dr. Mudd has no connection to Cornell.

Gates Hall (2013/14) – Not unlike Mudd Hall, Gates Hall is funded with a hefty donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic org maintained by Warren Buffet and  Microsoft overlord Bill Gates.

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King-Shaw Hall

21 06 2013

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So, in doing research for a later entry, I was going through the list of facilities on Cornell’s website, and came across an unfamiliar name – King-Shaw Hall.  So I decided to check – the facilities website contains buildings that have long ago been torn down, such as Morse Hall.

To my uncomfortable surprise, the ILR Conference Center changed its name way back in October 2012. In my defense, this appears to have happened right around my first week on the job, so my mind was on other things. Secondly, if this was anything like the sudden change they made with the ILR Extension Building becoming Dolgen Hall in 2008, then I can’t be blamed too much, as that one almost flew under the radar while I was a still a student (had it not been for the lettering change outside the building, I would not have known).

According to the ILR press release, the building was renamed for Patricia and Ruben King-Shaw ’83, so two donors but not two separate donors as one might suspect (see Court-Kay-Bauer for an example of the latter). Ruben King-Shaw is the chairman of an equity firm, and according to Forbes, has an extended history serving in executive roles in healthcare administration, both public and private. For better or worse, one of his daughters currently attends Cornell; on the bright side, you can point to the building and say, with pride, it’s named for your family; on the other hand, it means every time you do well on something, or if you’re selected for a secret society, your peers will snidely whisper it’s because of the enormous amount of money your family donated to the university.  For the record, although the amount donated is undisclosed, it’s probably something similar or marginally more than the amount donated by John Dolgen, which was described as a “multimillion-dollar gift“.

As to the building itself, The ILR Conference Center was built in 1911 as an expansion of the Vet School. ILR moved in during the late 1940s. As with Dolgen and the ILR Research Building on the south end of the complex, King-Shaw Hall underwent a significant renovation from 2002-2004, but because these buildings were designated landmarks, the exteriors were relatively unaltered. I suppose at this point, it won’t be long before ILR finds a donor for the Research Building, if someone feels the urge to part with some millions for nominal immortality.





Thanksgiving Construction Update, Part I

30 11 2012

It has occurred to me that when I hop between construction sites, I could possibly be construed as the worst driver on the planet, because I look to get as close as possible, parking or drive-by, without a whole lot of attention to anything around me. So it hardly seems appropriate that my first police ticket ever was last night, driving home through a town I’ve never been in before in my life, where the detour sign for the bridge I needed to cross was knocked askew, and I tried to make my way back to the state highway. According to the police officer, I went through a stop sign, and upon driving back to take photos this morning, I still have no idea which intersection he’s referring to on the ticket (it only gives one street). This will be a weird day in traffic court.

Bad luck, or karma. I suppose it’s one of the two.

Anyway, the below photos were taken the day after Thanksgiving, driving back down 81 heading downstate. Since Ithaca’s only a 25 mile detour each way, carpe diem.

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Checking out Lansing first (as it’s closest to where I get off from 81 southbound), I didn’t notice much in the way of large-scale construction as expected for the new senior homes next to the BJ’s. Although, a utility building did appear to be under construction, seen here on the left side of the image. Update 1/10/13: Only now do I find out this is a new fire station under construction.

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Not too far away, the woody lot behind the Triphammer Mall is slated to be home to a 3/4 story apartment building.

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Over at Cornell, the mostly-subterranean addition to the Law School is well underway. This is but the first phase, with a completion likely in late 2013/early 2014.

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The steel frame of Gates Hall is mostly complete, wish some interior framing underway. The new computer science building, with 101,000 sq ft, will be completed late next year.

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The green roof is being laid for the new classroom attached to Fernow Hall. Renovations on Fernow and Rice continue through 2015.

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The new Stocking Hall/food science addition once again wins the award for “hardest tarp to see through”, a thick black burlap secured fastened to the construction fence. This is why photo number two had to be taken by sliding the camera lens underneath the metal mesh. The new building will be completed roughly next summer, with renovations of the older parts of the Stocking Hall complex to continue into 2014.

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The new building for the Big Red Band appears to be undergoing foundation work, and working were on site when I visited. Being a small, 4,700 sq ft structure, the completion date just a few months away seems fairly appropriate.

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Heading into Collegetown, the Belle Sherman Cottages project has advanced a little further, with a second home complete and a third well under construction (workers were pouring the base for the garage as I walked by). I checked the other lots for “sold” signs, and although some of the land appeared to be disturbed enough for additional foundation work, I did not notice any more sold lots, so this home may be the last built in the near-term.

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The new townhomes at 107 Cook Street are undergoing the last of their exterior work, and will probably be complete by the end of the winter. The two townhomes offer 12 bedrooms total, one less than the destroyed apartment home they replaced.

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This seems like bad planning.

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The concrete bunker of a building still stands solemnly, awaiting news on whether the new Collegetown Crossing building will be on site.

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Ithaca Gun. Still empty since construction/remediation stopped in August due to cost overruns, and seemingly as polluted as ever. At this point, you’ll have to tear out a section of the Earth’s crust to get rid of all the pollution.





End-of-Summer Construction Update, Part II

24 08 2012

I felt a little more comfortable exploring the non-college part of Ithaca. For the most part. I bought an Ithaca Beer Company root beer at the downtown pharmacy, and because it came in a traditional beer bottle, I was concerned I’d be stopped by police for looking like I was violating open container laws. Rather than put up with that, I sat next to the ice cream counter and read the real estate section of the paper. The photos show would I did elsewhere.

I felt bad because I’ve largely ignored this project. Not purposely; it’s out of my normal search range – on the 600 block of West Seneca, near 13. The site was previous home to a service station and four homes, all of which were in poor condition. The project beings 17 units into a part of the city that has traditionally been one of the most overlooked Ithacan neighborhoods.

The new Fairfield Inn down in big-box land has had its foundation laid, and will likely be finished sometime in the spring. The hotel was approved last fall, and to be honest, I had expected this one to be further along than it was. When complete, the hotel will over another 106 rooms to the 1,800 or so currently within the Ithaca metro. On another note, the city expects a chain restaurant to be built next to the Panera Bread strip of buildings, with construction beginning in the fall.

Likewise on the progress for the Seneca Way project. For all the trouble it went through, I would hope it at least sees the light of day. The project seeks to build 32 apartments and some commercial space in a five story building on the site of the former Challenge Industries building. As for the Hotel Ithaca, no news as of late, and likely still stuck in funding limbo, a sign of our poor economic times. UPDATE 8/29/12: Apparently the Hotel is being reconfigured, switching from luxury hotel operator Gemstone Resorts to the Marriott brand. The number of rooms will be raised to 159, and the design will be slightly modified at base level. The height should remain the same. Re-approvals are required, but are not expected to be difficult to obtain. Construction is slated to begin next March, with foundation work during the winter.

Almost the same story here, except these two actually have funding arranged. The Holiday Inn expansion site in the top photo, the Cayuga Green lofts below. The Holiday Inn project started prep in July for the tear-down of the lowrise portion, to make way for a new 9-story building and conference center (I believe it was made one floor shorter from the original 10 stories, and stretched slightly longer to compensate for the loss of that floor space). The Cayuga Green project may have prep underway, judging from the equipment, but needs to start by the end of the year regardless to keep the city lawyers at bay.

And finally, one project that has made substantial progress, the Breckenridge Place Apartments on the site of the Women’s Community Building. The project will bring 50 units into downtown when completed next year.

This was a b*tch to take photos of. Most of the perimeter of the lot was covered in a black opaque tarp, tied so sceurely I had to lay on the ground and reach under it to get a photo through the fence. The front side was a bit easier. Completion should be sometime in mid-2014, although it looks like most of the exterior glass curtain wall is installed – which would place the project ahead of schedule.

Do as I say, not as I do: never take photos and try to drive on a crowded campus at the same time. But, I was running late. Tarp and foundation work underway at Gates Hall. For the curious, I stopped by the site for the Big Red Marching Facility, and the site was still pristine – this makes sense, since site prep doesn’t start until next month.

Now that screen lags my typing by about thirty seconds, I’d better but the kibosh on uploading any more photos in this entry. However, I do have the good fortune of having one my best friends accept a research position at Cornell, so I now have a legitimate excuse to visit Ithaca periodically for the next couple of years.








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