Gates Hall Progress Photos, 12/2013

5 01 2014


With an anticipated opening date early in 2014 (slightly behind schedule), the $60 million, 101,000 sq ft Gates Hall project is nearly complete. The work left at this point appears to be completion of the primary entrance structures (the “feet”, to use Jason’s term), a little landscaping, and interior work. Kinda odd to think the discussion of Gates Hall on this blog goes back to nearly the very beginning (and technically, since Bill Gates donated the money in 2006, this project has been in queue for even longer).

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News Tidbits 10/12/2011: Hotels, Houses and Apartments (Oh My)

12 10 2011

Lots of news tidbits today.

So, I can’t believe I missed this piece of news on Friday, but it was my department picnic, so I wasn’t exactly around my computer much. In hotel news, the Cornell Sun and the Ithaca Journal are reporting that the Holiday Inn downtown is seeking a nine-story expansion, with the goal of starting construction in November of 2012. The Sun article notes “The expansion, if approved, will replace some of the hotel’s existing structures“, with a tripling of conference/meeting space and in increase in rooms from 182 to 195. A two-story ballroom and entertainment area would also be a part of the plan, to be built on the north side of the hotel. As an added benefit, the addition would create 20 to 25 new jobs.

Looking at the layout, the “Executive Tower” of the hotel is surrounded by two-story wings, which would be demolished as part of the redevelopment. The new nine-story tower will be built on the Clinton Street side of the property (south side). The ten-story tower that presently resides on the property was built in 1984, while the rest of the property, originally built as a Ramada Inn, dates from 1972. The Holiday Inn was last renovated in 2004. The project seems to be within current zoning, which is CBD-100, so the nine story addition will be equal to or less than 100 feet in total height.


Image Property of Agora Homes LLC

In other news, the houses and townhomes associated with the Vine Street Cottages project are officially a go. The site has been graded, utilities are being installed and they’re paving the private road through the property (which doesn’t quite make sense to me, since they’re going for a traditional-style neighborhood, but I digress).  The first model house will be complete by the Spring, and the other units will be built as interest demands. The final build-out plans 19 homes and 10 townhouse units. Prices will be in the mid-300,000s for homes and mid-200,000s for townhomes (for the record, the average house in Ithaca is worth about $191,000).


Lastly, the Seneca Way mixed-use project has received preliminary approval after receiving zoning variances. Final approval is expected shortly, and the project is expected to begin construction in late spring 2012, with construction lasting nine months. The original financing for the project has fallen through in the year it took to modify and approve the project, but the developer is looking to secure alternative financing. Whether or not they’ll have the resources to start construction as expected seems to be up in the air.  The five-story building seeks to have a parking garage at street level, commercial space on the floor above, and 32 high-end apartments on the upper floors. The building met with angry opposition from neighbors over its height and massing. The take-away here seems to be to tread carefully when proposing new buildings next to historic areas with well-heeled owners.


Lastly, for those who don’t read the comment section on blogs, “cornellnz” posted a link of the revised Gates Hall design:

The “deer carcass” structure I criticized seems to be gone, which is an improvement. Those giant pinnacles by the front entrance, however, make me think of “The Aggro Crag” from the Nickelodeon Guts TV show. I’m not sure whether or not to call that an improvement.

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.

Gates Hall

10 07 2008

Okay, so in my observations of Cornell and local construction ,there is one thing that continues to be just a bit bothersome; two and a half years after it was announced [1],  there has not been one single rendering of Gates Hall. So, let’s review what we do know.

1)The building is meant to house the Dept. of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS). Gates is allowed to name it because he’s forking over half the expected construction cost (plus, the guy gets around around- UW and Stanford have Gates Halls as well).

From the article: “According to Kenneth Birman, professor of computer science and chair of the CIS building committee, the information campus project is still in the feasibility study stage. Gates Hall is estimated at 100,000 square feet and projected to cost about $50 million.”

2) So, now we know it’s supposed to be about 100,000 square feet. For comparison, Duffield’s gross area is about 150,000 sq. ft. [2]. Further investigation of the facilities website indicates that the architect will be Polshek Architects [3].

3) A review of Polshek’s firm shows some of their previous work:

Polshek Work 1 

Basically, it’s a firm that likes glassy, boxy designs.

4) Lastly, from the Master Plan, we see that CIS is behind Thurston, but there’s two buildings, and it’s a little confusing to tell which is Gates, since they are both listed as “in progress”.

My conclusion: Expect Gates to have a foot ptint between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet, 2-4 floors in height, with a boxy, glassy design not too unlike the Beck Center behind Statler Hall.