top of page
Hallway 1.jpg

Cornell University 

Cornell University 

White Hall was built in 1869. It is one of the iconic buildings that define the edge of Cornell's historic Arts Quadrangle. It was designed as two dormitories flanking a central classroom section.  Our task was to completely reconstruct the interior to accommodate different departments and new functions while preserving the exterior. 

Honors and Awards


  • Historic Preservation

  • Renovation / Restoration

  • Transformation

  • Feasibility Studies

  • Multiple Projects

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Project Information

  • 2007 AIA Westchester/Hudson Valley Recognition of Excellence


  • 2007 American School & University Gold Citation


Clark Hall was originally a research building with an under-utilized library.  The relocation of that library afforded the University the chance to repurpose this 10,000 sf space into a new Learning Commons.

The diagram of the original building was organized as three separate sections with six separate entries. The new diagram unifies the three separate sections into one building; the new circulation pattern establishes a dialogue with the Arts Quad.  A new atrium creates a clear center for the building, celebrates vertical circulation, and affords views to the Arts Quad at every level.  A new single-loaded corridor on the main floor has doors to classrooms on one side and windows overlooking the Arts Quad on the other.

Every interior element of the 40,000 sf building was removed, including the entire timber structure.  A new underground mechanical vault was built adjacent to White Hall, allowing the reclamation of needed space within the building.  All of the interior finishes, colors and materials are new; they reflect the original style of the 19th-century “Renaissance” building.

The new Learning Commons in Clark Hall supports the pedagogy of SCALE UP  (Student Centered Active Learning Environments for Undergraduate Programs) which seeks to establish collaborative, interactive learning environments for large enrollment courses.  

The Learning Commons has instructional spaces surrounded by areas for group and individual study.  The spaces are transparent to each other, but are acoustically separated. During evenings and weekends, the entire area is used for tutoring and for “homework parties” 

bottom of page