Cornell Master Plan, Part 4 of 5

2 08 2008

Now that I’ve said my piece on the East Campus redevelopment, I’m going to move into the far east campus towards the vet school.

Precinct 9 is referred to in the master plan as the Judd Falls Precinct. For those of you who have never gone out towards the vet school for anything other than a prelim, Judd Falls is the name of the north-south road that passes through here, hence the name. The areas is home to some greenhouses, the U.S. Soils Lab (and its $51 million planned addition, to be completed in 2013 [1]), and Morrison Hall. The hideous piece of architecture known as the Boyce Thompson Institute (1978 ) also stands in this area.

Now, this area is almost wholly used for CALS and vet school activities. For the rest of us, it’s a relative dead zone; you’ll go to the Dairy Bar once in your time at Cornell just for the hell of it, decide its too far out from everything and not come back except for the rare event your exam was shoved in here because this was the only space available (you wanted the Statler Aud for your exam room, but you’ll be sweating it out in Morrison).

The plan to redevelop it is a praiseworthy one. Several buildings would be developed, and the area seems to be much more integrated into the rest of campus.

Because of the relative lack of use of this area, and its underdevelopment, the architects/design teams will have carte blanche to do as they wish with any future properties in this precinct. As a result, Morrison would see the wrecking ball; for some demonic reason, they decided to leave the wound on campus that is BTI. Seriously, it makes even Uris look attractive.

Photo obtained from facilities website

Photo obtained from facilities website

And this is the attractive side.

The buildings designed in the Judd Falls area should all maintain the same architectural style to enhance uniformity in the area. Considering its just a mish-mash of styles now, it would be interesting to see how this turns out. Lobby areas would be glassy and transparent. Total development space would be between 730,000 nd 1.33 million sq ft, and the buildings would average four floors (56 ft.) in height, give or take a floor. If they were to develop here, my personal hope would be that other academic uses are considered; moving some of the other departments out a little farther to fill up these buildings, perhaps. Or secondary space for the East Campus.

Precinct 10 is referred to as the Vet Quad. The new Vet Quad occupies an area dominated at the current time by parking lots; as the general rule seems to be in the Master Plan, parking lots should be hidden underground whenever possible, so this would never fit in if they didn’t do something with it.

A large building occupies the eastern end, possibly a centerpiece building to serve as an administrative building with some academic use mixed in. The building to the northeast is already under construction, an $80.5 million, 126,000 sq. ft Animal Diagnostic Hospital [2].

I like the plan here, for the most part. I feel it provides a dingified entryway for those coming into the university from the east, along Rt. 366. I’m not as fond of the random building they shoved in front of the animal hospital, because it strikes me as not being the best place to place another building and make the vet complex even more difficult to navigate than it already is. Things started to get confusing with Schurman Hall, and with the Vet Tower, Hospital and new wing, it’s just difficult to navigate within the Vet School (I for one became lost while trying to cut through to make it to a charity XC race on the other side of the vet school property). The total amount of space developed here would be between 400,000 and 700,000 sq. ft.

No surprise, but West Campus has no identified development parcels and the plan suggests treating developments here on a case-by-case basis. It also suggests restoring the cemetery, which I find humorous in a punny sort of way (restore the cemetery eh? Well, go to the morgue and pick up some shovels on the way over…). Yes, I’m aware that it actually means plantings and headstones.

Part 5 will cover Cornell’s New Urbanist development and North Campus. To be continued…





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