Arts Quad Photos

30 08 2008

Some people suggested that I might consider sharing a little history of a few of the campus buildings for those that are interesting. Well, it’s Friday evening, and I’ve already enjoyed a private 21st birthday celebration for a friend. So, why not?

Rand Hall, built in 1912, was built in the industrial style typical for the time period. The building was donated by Mrs. Henry Lang in honor of her father Jasper Rand [1], and her ubcle and brother of the same surname. The building housed machines shops as part of the Sibley School of Engineering, and eventually was reworked to be the studio for many of the architect student as part of the AAP school.

For those of us who aren’t architects, we rarely see the interior. We do, however, see the designs and phrases bored architects create on the compound windows.  The building has been proposed for demolition in recent years to make room for proposed addition to the AAP school (see the Milstein Hall entry), but the current design proposal for Milstein Hall spares the structure for the current time. The building doesn’t tend to make much news, with the slight exception of a time a peacockfrom a Cayuga Heights home broke into their computer lab a couple of years ago [2].

Lincoln Hall, across the path, has seen a much more varied history than its workhorse neighbor. Lincoln Hall was built in 1888 at the then-cost of $72,603, and housed the Civil Engineering until 1960 (it moved to Hollister Hall). The building was renovated for the music department, and they moved in the following year [3].

Lincoln Hall saw an 18,640 sq. ft., $19 million dollar expansion from 1999-2000 (the addition is on the left side of the photo). The firm that designed the addition also designed Kroch Libe in 1992 and the Law School addition in 1988.

Sibley Hall, namesake of Hiram Sibley, has three seperate wings built at three seperate times. The West Wing began construction in August 1870. The building was dedicated to the “mechanical arts”, as so deemed by Hiram Sibley, an original trustee of the university. Sibley donated the money hinging on A.D. White building himself a president’s house on the campus [4]. The east wing was built in 1894, and the center area, including the photogenic dome, was built in 1902. Although the three portions were designed by three different architects, they form a relatively cohesive single structure that serves as the nucleus of the AAP school. The center area houses the Fine Arts Library.

The construction in the photo is some pipe work, and Sibley underwent minor renovations during the summer to make the building handicap-accessible, and to add more bathrooms to the structure.

The John M. Olin Library shares the title of being the main library for the Cornell campus. The building was opened in 1961 [5]. To facilitate its 5.66 million dollar construction, the university demolished Boardman Hall (1892), which was the original home of the law school. Boardman was a former dean of the law school. The three stone faces on the outside and the three stone faces next to the interior staircase are artifacts from the exterior of Boardman Hall that were incorporated into Olin’s facade.

The Kroch Libary, largely underground except for four skylights next to Stimson Hall, was constructed in the fall of 1992 at a cost of $25 million dollars (namesake Carl Kroch ’35). For those who are curious, Olin has a utility tunnel to Uris, and Kroch has a utility stairway-tunnel that connects to Stimson, both of which are largely prohibited for non-staff use.

Olin’s entry way and cafe were renovated in 2002. The rest of the building is currently being prepped for a major renovation that will clean the exterior facade and renovate the interior to being it up to safety codes and to make it more conducive for current trends in upper education (think “pollinization spaces” not too unlike those in Duffield and Weill, without the atrium).

Tjaden was built as a “physical laboratory” in conjunction with West Sibley in 1883. Although $50,000 was budgeted, delays and material shortages drove the costs up to a final tally of $100,923, more than twice than was originally budgeted [6]. This is partially because of A.D, White insistance on the use of stone, and the medallions that decorate the building with the profile of prominent men in the mechanical arts. If you look closely enough, you can see that the window arches still have the names of great discoverers and inventors inscribed into the stone. The building was originally named Franklin Hall, in honor of the great innovator Benjamin Franklin.

The Department of Chemistry originally called the building home until it left for Morse Hall in 1890. The physics department left in 1906, and afterwards the building was incorporated into AAP as the Fine Arts building and workshops. The building was rededicated in 1981 to Olive Tjaden van Sickle ’25, a pioneering woman architect [6]. The building was renovated in 1998, at which time it regianed the hipped roof that I so inconveniently cropped off because I was too lazy to take a few steps back (the original hipped roof was deemed structurally unstable in the 1950s after a lightning strike set it on fire).









2 responses

31 08 2008

Franklin hall is a beauty, but i’ve a few facts that might clarify it’s history. First, it was dedicated specifically to Electrical Engineering– for the country’s very first school of electrical engineering. Second, the physicists and inventors around its exterior are all related to the fields of electrical engineering and Electromagnetism. Benjamin Franklin was honored in the name since he was america’s first true scientist, and contributed much to the field of E&M. Its kind of sad that the building was renamed. The two red stone buildings on the quad (Franklin and Lincoln) are architecturally typical of the post civil war era, an era where we fought for national unity, and so naming them after famous Americans rather than wealthy donors was a very classy move indeed. It’s sad to see the symmetry between the buildings broken. Oh well…

14 10 2008
Dan Meyer

Interesting fact about Franklin Hall and the Cornell Greek System. Until the end of the First World War, the Cornell Faculty were heavily involved in their fraternities. Electrical Engineering started out under the Physics Department, as “engineering” was at that time the realm of mechanics, greasy guys at forges, etc. Professor Ryan (’85)(’88) was Cornell’s first electrical engineer; his partner in experimentation was Ernie Merritt (’85)(’89), the future Dean of Faculty and Chair of the Physics Department. And the mathematics for their theoretical work was supplied by Tee Fee Crane’s brother-in-law, Professor Jim MacMahon (’86)(Trinity 1879). All three were active in Phi Kappa Psi, then located just down from Franklin Hall, in was is now the Watermargin Cooperative.

Great Blog, keep it up !

Long remember Old Roberts Hall !

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