News Tidbits 3/21/11: Gates Hall Design Released

21 03 2011

Just…ugh. This image comes from the Facilities Management website. The designs have been submitted to the university but are still being tweaked to fit the budget, or “value engineered” if you will.

I already described my intense dislike for Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, in a previous post. As some folks may remember, Morphosis was selected about nine months ago to design the 100,000 sq ft Gates Hall (aka the new Computer and Information Science Building) on the site roughly where the Grumman Squash Courts are now. The angle of the rendering appears to be northeastward, with Barton Hall’s tower in the distance.

Some may like this kind of edgy, “organic” architecture. The only organic thing that pops into my mind is decay. Seriously, the bottom of the overhang on the west side reminds me of rotting deer carcasses my childhood neighbors would have laying around parts of their property (they were a bit odd, but they gave out stuffed animals on Halloween, which totally redeemed them in my ten-year old mind), with the ribs exposed and the flesh drying out and curling. If that imagery doesn’t prove my disdain, then nothing will.

This may float some people’s boat, but I’m willing to wager they’ll tend to be in the minority. For as edgy and advanced as it may seem, I can only imagine and feebly hope that the built product looks a little better than this, and that it ages well.


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5 responses

21 03 2011
Phones?

The additional issue with this building design is that the Computer Science Department will be housed in a building that is wrapped in a metal cage. Faraday Cage anyone? Good luck getting your smart phone to work.

24 03 2011
ex-Ithacan

After looking at the rndering, I feel like going to the deli and getting some thin slices of turkey.

BTW, who are the people who actually make the ultimate decision on which design to go with?

25 03 2011
B. C.

The department of Facilities Services, I believe. They include the subdivisions of Capital Projects and Planning and Facilities Engineering, and Real Estate, among others. The university has its own architect who oversees project designs to make sure they are acceptable for university needs (i.e. where architectural taste comes into play).

27 03 2011
Mooooo

That building is wrapped in a condom.

11 04 2011
PC

Thom Mayne is one of the most respected architects in the world. For a university that is considered to be one of the leaders in the world, it is necessary that Cornell pushes the limits on design excellence and not settle for mediocrity. I was on the campus in the late 80’s when Cornell gave 2 large projects with low budgets to one middling firm (Rhodes Hall and Roberts/Kennedy Halls) and almost destroyed the campus.
With a growing list of Pritzker prize winning architects on campus, James Stirling (Performing Arts Center), Richard Meier (Weil Hall), I. M. Pei (Johnson Museum), Rem Koolhaas (Milstein Hall), Mayne continues that line of A-list architects to show their design excellence on our campus. I welcome the design and the continuing discussions it will initiate.
Cornell has the best architecture program in the world and has created a formidable reputation over generations. The university should also manifest itself with buildings of the highest caliber design.

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