Upson Hall Construction Update, 9/2017

26 09 2017

Upson Hall’s renovation is complete. The building became fully re-occupied as of August 22nd, per the Cornell Daily Sun. It’s been a long time coming. Two phases, 27 months, $74.5 million invested. One supposes that staying cutting edge in engineering requires a certain investment in cutting-edge labs and equipment.

The interior is certainly impressive with its airy, industrial feel. The interior fit and finish appeared impressive, Cornell getting their money’s worth. However, on the outside the quality of Upson’s appearance is diminished somewhat by the puckered seams and slight imperfections of the aluminum panels on the stairwells/elevator cores.

To be totally honest, I was more a fan of the old Upson’s clean modernist lines. Certainly the interior needed work, but this just looks…gimmicky? I dunno how well it’ll age on the outside, but hopefully the inside will lend itself to creating exciting engineering feats and technological advances.

New York’s LTL Architects and engineering firm Thornton-Tomasetti were the primary architects and engineers for the project, assisted by the original architecture firm for the building, Perkins + Will. The landscaping, which will be finished at a later date, was designed by local firm TWMLA. The Pike Company served as the general contractor for the project.

Before (from 2008/2009):

After:


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28 09 2017
CS PhD

I’m also disappointed with the new Upson’s exterior. The interior is a much-needed improvement (no more exposed cinder blocks! colors other than beige!) but the exterior just went from one ugly gray box to another, uglier gray box. And yes, the asymmetrical windows and weird-textured wall panels are trendy post-modernist gimmicks and will age terribly. In another 40 years the new Upson will look just as dated and tired as the old Upson did in 2015. Why can’t Cornell recognize the value of its timeless brick and stone buildings, which can keep the same facade for 150 years and still look good?

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