So, now that I’m done with the fraternity rush booklet, I’m going to do a new multi-part feature, this one focusing on the Cornell master plan. Look at it this way; I love reviewing the additions to Cornell’s physical plant, so this is the equivalent of giving a hit to a crack addict (okay, maybe not as detrimental to my health. But anyways…)
So, a little background. The plan was first initiated in late 2005 and took about two years to complete the final product , which was the culmination of the third and final phase of development. Up to that point, some open sessions were held at Willard Straight and at the Hilton Garden downtown (in Sept. 2007) for members of the community to comment on the findings, needs and projected developments of the university. The work was done by a Toronto-based planning firm, Urban Strategies Inc.
The plan tries to encompass the needs and concerns of the university and its physical plant. Among the primary issues, transportation and parking were major concerns, as well as maintaining a cohesive campus community and spatially harmonious design concepts in the planning of space throughout the campus. Also important was the development of additional facility to maintain Cornell’s capacity to be a top research institution.
So, the plan is set on the time scale of the next 10 to 25 years. The plan considers some of the following parameters; an increase of faculty from 1,600 to 1,700-1,800; an increase in graduate student population from 6,000 to 6,500-7,000; an increase of 700 staff from 8,400 to 9,100; and undergraduate to hold steady arond 13,500. The plan accomodates for 1-2 million more square feet of space, to be constructed in and around the Ithaca campus.
So, my goal is to pick this plan apart, piece by piece, and analyze the crap out of it. But if you want to see and read through the process that led them to create the parameters and design guidelines for the comprehensive master plan, here’s the link: http://www.masterplan.cornell.edu/ (click on part I).
Clicking on part II’s “Core Campus” link, and sitting through the time that it takes for 76.99 MB to download, it opens up to a picture of Olin Libe and McGraw Tower. How pretty. Anyways, it talks about the importance of Central Campus as the hub of university activity. Here, they first mention the new 24-hour hub on the east side; that’ll be discussed more thoroughly in a later entry. One last thing- unless otherwise noted, no building is a concrete plan; they are merely suggestions as to a good way to develop the site. If master plans were always carried out to a tee, we’d have completely gothic west campus .
Yay for Prnt Scrn buttons! I’m not doing this with every page, just ones i’m going to focus on. Seriously, I suggest you go to the masterplan website, click on “part II”, “core campus”, and take a look. Or go to the listed source .
So, this is the overall plan. It worries me just a teeny bit when they mispell Bailey as “Baily”, since it is a whole area of discussion for them; but I can’t comment, my blog entries are filled with typos.
The page for demolished buildings and removed parking lots. the general goal of the master plan seems to be to hide the parking as much as possible, since it isn’t good for aesthetics, and isn’t pedestrian friendly. However, we still need it, so they shove it underground where possible. Milstein Hall would be a good example of that.
Development focus areas! Notice the massive changes on the east side of campus. Like I said, I’ll discuss those later, but they really stand out here.
The 3-D image of the improved Arts Quad. Mistein sticks out like an ugly chick in a beauty contest, but there’s hope for the Goldwin Smith extension, for which planning is currently underway. I’m holding out for something modern yet respectful to the older architecture, like the addition to Lincoln Hall in 1998.
The overhead. As you’ll notice in the pdf, Milstein has these symmetrical roof features at the top; I feel as if that was an attempt to spice up the miracle box. I’m still not impressed, but you can notice an extension that goes behing Sibley and behind Tjaden. I really hope the arrow means you can still walk between them. An extension of Milstein’s design is perhaps nto the most ideal, but maybe Cornell can come up with something good for the back areas of Tjaden and Sibley. You can also just make out the Johnson Museum addition, which area-wise looks small and quaint compared to the rest of the buildings. At a mostly subterranean 16,000 sq. ft, I s’pose it is.
New stuctures with the thick gray border have been given the go-ahead for planning. The footprints in blacks are areas of potential development suggested by the plan. As we see, the area behind Sibley and Tjaden is seen as the only reasonable space left to develop without disrupting the harmony of the ag quad. The next page states that these buildings would have the same height and massing as their older counterparts, but considering they’re home to Arts and Architecture, I would not be surprised if Cornell were to push for cutting-edge designs if they ever developed those plots, being artistcially daring and all. However, it’s amazing how cutting-edge can be so offensive to the eyes sometimes.
Buildings in mauve-purple? They’re historic. As much as I have a personal vendetta against Rockefeller Hall, particularly Room 203, it would be a major hassle to structurally change it. No demo there anytime soon (I think the story goes that the money John Rockefeller gave to the building went mostly to the interior mechanics, and little on the exterior and finishings, hence the spartan design. He hated it so much when he saw it he vowed never to donate money to Cornell again). My personal wonder is how the hell could Uris Hall be architectually significant. Is that like the equivalent of a massacre monument, to mark that something terrible happened on the land and we should all know about it? Uris Hall could be taken as a massacre on the eyes.
Also on this page are the noted sightlines for the Arts Quad; sightlines will play a bigger role in some others buildings on campus, as to whether they remain or not.
to be continued…