Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 11/2017

20 11 2017

With the loggia enclosed, the exterior work now focuses on the bump-out staircase on the southwest face of Hughes Hall. The structural steel frame is finally attached, but the window glazing has yet to be installed. I tried to enter the building to take a look at the interior progress, but the doors I used last time were locked. The $10.2 million project is due to finish sometime during the late winter.

Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 9/2017

30 09 2017

It appears the loggia has been enclosed at the Cornell law school. The fence is down, the landscaping is in place, and apart from some exterior finishing work, that portion of the renovation is complete. The new glazing works well with the collegiate Gothic architecture.

The new west stairwell has yet to be installed, with some plastic sheeting serving as an exterior membrane for the time being. With the old exterior wall removed, installation of the structural frame is likely to start soon, and it seems plausible that Welliver and Cornell would like to have the new stairwell closed up before winter comes. From the inside, it looks like some of the new office and academic space has been completed, while the southwest wing remains in the interior framing stage, with some metal wall studs visible through the hazy plastic sheet separating the construction area from the finished spaces.

Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 7/2017

31 07 2017

On the outside, progress is modest – the windows and CMUs from the upper floors have been removed from the west face to make way for the future glass-encased stairwell. The steel beams sitting in the staging area are part of the Certainteed Drywall Suspension System and will be used in the construction of the new ceilings in the gutted interior, although some of the different gauges present may also be used for interior wall framing. There has been no visible progress on enclosing the loggia yet.

Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 5/2017

24 05 2017

Externally, not much has changed since March, although it looks like work is starting on enclosing the north loggia. The Fork and Gavel Cafe is closed for renovations through September, but a carry-out offshoot will serve in its place. Most of the work on this $10.2 million project is internal, converting former dorms into academic office and support space. With any luck, the next visit will be from the inside.

Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 3/2017

28 03 2017

Finally starting to see a little bit of progressing on the renovations to Hughes Hall. The rest of the old masonry wall on the lower floors has been stripped out, and is covered with plastic and plywood for the time being. Eventually, the space will be opened as the new glass enclosure is built for the new west staircase. For the record. the stairwell is completely new; it replaces one that was slightly further to the east, on the inside corner of the building. This gut renovation is down to the studs, and then some. No work on enclosing the loggia just yet.

Design work is by KSS Architects, with offices in Princeton and Philadelphia. Frequent Cornell collaborator Welliver is the general contractor. The project is expected to cost about $10.2 million and take about 13 months to complete, meaning November 2017 if all goes to plan.


Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 1/2017

17 01 2017

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much is happening. But, given all the steel beams on site, the safe bet is that the former dorms inside are still being gutted to nothing but the load-bearing walls, and those beams will become a part of the new interior partitions, new stud walls for the enhanced faculty office and professional space. This is by and large an interior renovation, but perhaps after the deepest cold of the season passes, we’ll see more progress towards enclosing the loggia and the new stairwell on the west face. The wire mesh over the exposed west wall is for safety reasons.

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Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 11/2016

22 11 2016

Introducing a new project to work into the rotation – work has begun on Cornell Law’s renovations of Hughes Hall. Coincidentally, I broke this story for the Voice almost a year ago to this date.

In Summer 2012, the Cornell Law program embarked on a three-phase renovation and expansion program to their facilities. The first phase was a 17,500 SF, mostly-subterranean addition of an auditorium space, two large-group classrooms. foyer space, and a renovated courtyard. Designed by Boston-based Ann Beha Architects and constructed by Welliver, that $23.8 million phase, certified LEED Platinum, was completed in late summer 2014. Plans for phase II came forth in November 2015, and were approved by the city this past March. Phase III, which calls for renovations to the law school library, has yet to be presented.

Hughes Hall was built by the university in 1963 and named for former professor Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes only spent two years at Cornell, partially because of the need to make better money from private practice, and partially because of familial pressures to leave behind a “one-horse town like Ithaca”. He would later serve as governor and a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hughes was a source of inspiration for mid-20th century megadonor Myron Taylor, and so the new law school dorms were named in his honor. The building served as the dorm and dining facility for the law school until 2005, when the first and second floors were renovated for administrative and faculty office space.

The Hughes Hall remodeling will have three basic components: enclosing the open-air loggia that currently connects Hughes Hall with Myron Taylor Hall, adding a staircase to the west side of Hughes Hall, and repaving the dining terrace by the Fork and Gavel CafĂ©. Administrative offices and event spaces will be on the lower floors, and faculty offices on the upper floors. The renovations will be seeking LEED Silver certification – this is two levels lower than the LEED Platinum of phase one, but it’s a lot easier and cheaper to achieve energy savings when a project is underground.

As a result of the remodeling, the last law school dorm units, totaling 47 student beds, were removed. At the time this was announced, Maplewood had yet to come forth, and I did a rare editorial for the Voice calling Cornell out on a lack of planning and poor stewardship. Minor site plan and landscaping improvements are planned.

Design work is by KSS Architects, with offices in Princeton and Philadelphia. Frequent Cornell collaborator Welliver will serve as the general contractor. The project is expected to cost about $10.2 million and take about 13 months to complete. The project was initially slated to begin in June 2016 and wrap up in July 2017, but it appears the construction launch ended up being a few months later than anticipated.

In the photos below, some of the exterior stone veneer has been stripped from the wall, and on the lower levels the windows and some of the concrete masonry wall has been removed. This will be where the new glass-enclosed staircase will go. Work on closing up the loggia has yet to start.

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