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Cornell University Milstein Hall

Ithaca, NY

This modern 2-story building on the northeast corner of the Arts Quad houses studios and other academic spaces for the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP). The new building connects to Sibley and Rand Halls on the second floor, uniting the AAP campus. A presentation area, gallery space, and the 250-seat auditorium are located at the basement level. The flexible studio space on the second floor is suffused with natural light from the surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights.

The building is supported on concrete shafts drilled to rock. Challenging aspects of the design included a reinforced concrete interior dome and a 50-foot cantilever.

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Dome

At the basement level, the dome rises from the concrete foundation walls to enclose critique spaces. A reinforced concrete bridge with reinforced concrete truss rails extends across the dome’s interior. The stair leading down to the basement level from this bridge acts as an angled column support. The dome forms an eyebrow window at street level on University Avenue that provides sightlines from the outside it.

Dome

At the basement level, the dome rises from the concrete foundation walls to enclose critique spaces. A reinforced concrete bridge with reinforced concrete truss rails extends across the dome’s interior. The stair leading down to the basement level from this bridge acts as an angled column support. The dome forms an eyebrow window at street level on University Avenue that provides sightlines from the outside it.

The exposed systems and relaxed social ambience tolerate and celebrate the creative clutter created by students. — 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award Jury — 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award Jury
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Cantilever

The second floor and roof of Milstein Hall cantilever 50 feet over University Avenue. Silman worked with OMA on an intense three-week charette to develop the hybrid profile of the five trusses, which incorporate features of conventional and Vierendeel trusses. The exposed vertical and diagonal members of the trusses are located to minimize impact on the interior second floor space.

Cantilever

The second floor and roof of Milstein Hall cantilever 50 feet over University Avenue. Silman worked with OMA on an intense three-week charette to develop the hybrid profile of the five trusses, which incorporate features of conventional and Vierendeel trusses. The exposed vertical and diagonal members of the trusses are located to minimize impact on the interior second floor space.

Milstein Hall’s design incorporates sustainable practices including recycled content in steel and concrete. Tight coordination between structure and building systems minimized its volume, resulting in a reduction of overall building material. Additional sustainable features include skylights for natural lighting, radiant floor heat, and a green roof above the second-floor studio spaces. The building is LEED Gold certified.

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