Klarman Hall Interior Photos

11 01 2016

Otherwise known as what $61 million gets you. Wrapping up the Klarman Hall updates with some interior shots of the nearly-finished building. Some staff and classroom spaces have already been occupied, as is the new Temple of Zeus cafe. While inside, I struck up a conversation with the one other person present, an employee of sub-contractor Cook Painting doing touch-ups, and he told me all about how he’s worked on multiple Cornell buildings and Klarman was his favorite so far, and that although he was disappointed the roof had an opaque cover, he’d seen the sun come through the sides in the morning and “the whole place just lights up like a Christmas tree”.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy a little after noon when these photos were taken, so no such effect here.

In Klarman’s 33,250 SF of usable space, Cornell will host spaces and meeting rooms for approximately 200 faculty and staff, a 350-seat auditorium, and the 7,700 SF glass atrium, which is arguably the centerpiece of the new structure. Accordingly to the friendly painter, Cornell will do a formal event to celebrate Klarman Hall’s completion later this year. No doubt its namesake, billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman ’79, will be in attendance. The Groos family, multi-generational Cornellians, were also significant donors to the project.

Klarman was due to be complete in December 2015 when the project first began construction in summer 2013, so all in all Cornell and the contractors did a pretty good job staying close to schedule, even with the last couple cold and stormy winters. Hats off to the construction workers and for making that happen.

Boston-based Koetter | Kim and Associates is the building architect (they also did the recently-built Physical Sciences Building), and Welliver served as general contractor. Klarman Hall is seeking LEED Platinum certification, which is the highest level possible.

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3 responses

11 01 2016

Wow, that cheap plastic carport roof is phenominally ugly. I can’t believe the architects let some “value engineer” get away with that, especially since the open-air feel of the atrium seems to be the centerpiece of the architectural renders. On the other hand, maybe its shade will prevent the atrium from being an unbearable sauna in the summer – as any resident of Gates will tell you, glass boxes are impossible to cool when the sun shines.

Another difference I notice between the renders and the final version: it appears that the interior walls overlooking the atrium were supposed to match the stone color of Goldwin Smith, but they failed quite noticeably to do that.

11 01 2016
B. C.

Speaking subjectively, I can’t say I’m a fan of the cost-cutting either. From the start, Cornell struggled to make the design fit their budget, and it shows (heck, the earliest designs called for something much more like Goldwin Smith, but spiraling costs shot that idea down). I will say that at least at glance, the materials they did use looked to be of decent quality, so hopefully they can withstand heavy student/staff traffic with modest maintenance.

15 01 2016
Cornell PhD

Went for a look today, expecting the worst based on these photos. I think it comes off better in real life, mostly because the materials really are high quality (stone rarely fails to look good). The much expanded new Temple of Zeus also manages to enhance what made it a nice gathering place to begin with. I’m not entirely crazy about the wooden walls off to the sides, though, which were not at all what we were led to expect from the renderings. The skinny columns nearly up next to the new walls are also a bit annoying – not sure why they were necessary other than saving on engineering costs. Also, what’s up with that mesh-metal fencing on stairways and along floors overlooking the courtyard? Finally, the courtyard space itself is much more cramped than I expected it to be, while much too much room was given over to the carpeted hallways between, and space within, offices.

Not at all surprising that value engineering happened all around here given Cornell’s priorities; this is not going to be as grand and soaring a space as the Physical Science Building or even Gates Hall; maybe it’s more comparable to the much much cramped Milstein at the architecture school. Maybe my expectations were just a bit too through the roof given the renders left me expecting a British Museum courtyard on campus.

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