More Random Cornelliana

13 10 2008

Because you’ve probably never been in most of these buildings anyway.

Rice Hall. The building on the left, obscured by the trees, is colloquially known as “Little Rice Hall”. Located on the National Register of Historic Places [1], Rice Hall was built in 1912 and designed by the architectural firm Green and Wicks [2]. Rice Hall was intended as a peripheral building to Stone, Roberts, East Roberts, Caldwell and Comstock Halls. The building is home to Cornell’s “Center for the Environment” (yet another academic think tank) and is a hodgepodge of SNES and Crop and Soil Sciences. The building is named for James E. Rice 1890 [5], who taught the first course in the country on Poultry Husbandry (the building was originally for poultry husbandry, which is likely why it’s such a clusterf*ck now).

Fernow Hall is another of Green and Wicks’ works, being constructed three years later in 1915 [3], and also sits on the National Register of Historic Places. For the record, all that means that it’s old and likable. It must not mean much for architectural merit, otherwise we’d still have Roberts, Stone and East Roberts. The building is primarily used by the Dept. of Natural Resources. The building was known as the Forestry Building from 1915 to 1922 [4], and was dedicated to Bernhard Fernow, Dean of the College of Forestry (a sort of predecessor to the natty rys dept., which failed only five years after its inception in 1898, because the state received threats that if Cornell would be spoiling summer cottage retreats in the ‘Dacks for commercial purposes, wealthy state residents would reside elsewhere).

The original Comstock Hall, now the Computing and Communications Center. The hall was built in 1912 and named for renowned entomologist John Henry Comstock 1874 [6], and originally housed entomology. In some twisted sense, the same firm that designed this building would design the later Comstock in 1985. After Cornell granted moving the name to the new building, the old Comstock was renovated into (C3), CIT’s Operations Unit, in the late 1980s. Prior to that, CIT was out in Langmuir Labs in the Office Park in Lansing, and before it left for Lansing in 1967, CIT’s main computer lab jumped between Rand and Phillips Halls [7].

A lot can change in 70 years. The original Comstock (formerly Academic II) was a corroboration between Green & Wicks, and the firm Hoffman, O’Brian, Levatich & Taub. The new Comstock was by the shorter “Levatich and Hoffman”. I think our tastes have gone downhill, ladies and gentlemen. Anyways, the new Comstock houses entomology and the little-used Entomology library (I just want to say that, as a CALS student, I’ve only ever met two entomology majors in my time at Cornell).

Corson-Mudd Hall (Corson is the east wing). Named for former university president Dale R. Corson and philanthropist Seeley G. Mudd (who has a crapload of buildings named for him on college campuses across the country [9], the building was completed in 1981 [8].

Technically, it’s possibly to get to nine seperate buildings through the tunnels and walkways of the AG Quad. Bradfield is connected to Emerson Hall (the lowrise portion), which is connected to Fernow Hall at one corner and to Plant Sciences from the second floor hallway. Through Plant Sciences, there are two ways to get into Mann Libe (ground, which involves being outside for ten seconds in the tunnel towards Manndible Cafe, and a less-used second-floor stairway). Mann is connected to Warren Hall. Plant Sci also has a connection to Weill Hall through its basement, and the tunnel runs underneath the street to the basement of Weill. The public use of this tunnel is not clearly stated, so try it at your own risk. Weill also connects to Corson-Mudd and Biotech through tunnels.

So, I’ve already told the story of the Roberts-Kennedy complex once before, but I’ll do a partial rehash. The building is named for Issac Roberts, an early professor, and 1970s CALS dean W. Keith Kennedy. Originally, Stone, Roberts and East Roberts stood on the site.

Roberts, Stone, East Roberts

L to R: Roberts, Stone, East Roberts

The three were built around 1906. While they were national registered historic buildings, Cornell rather covertly had the designation removed, in a move that angered many traditionalists. The buildings were imploded in 1988-89. The original proposal for Roberts-Kennedy Hall was a 10-story building where Kennedy stands. Well, that didn’t go over too well, so they essentially pushed it onto the side and made a “breezeway”. The two were completed in 1990. Trillium is technically a part of Kennedy Hall.













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