Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is an internationally recognized leader in veterinary education, research, diagnostics, animal care, and biomedical science. The design transforms the original complex—an ad-hoc collection of individual buildings—into a cohesive campus that signals the importance of the College and enables the school to advance research while offering innovative curriculum for training future practitioners and researchers. Through outreach that ranges from Ebola virus prevention to healthy pet clinics, and research ranging from invasive diseases to species tracking, the College works to support communities across the world by leading in research on animal health and infectious disease prevention.
The 117,000-square-foot project features a 67,000 square foot expansion and 50,000 square foot gut-renovation—adding teaching spaces, connecting the hospital to the College, and creating public forums for programmed and spontaneous activities—all within the same overall square-footage as the original complex.
Located at the eastern terminus of Tower Road, the expansion provides an updated anchor to Cornell’s east-west campus axis. Here, a redesigned entry plaza is framed by a new Library Wing and re-clad Veterinary Research Tower providing a unified identity and front door to what was formerly a mixture of building styles and entries. Selective demolition of underutilized and nonadaptable structures created opportunities to reconnect existing laboratories and insert a series of classrooms and lecture halls centered around a wood-lined, three story space. The most notable newly constructed space is the Gallery which creates a “Town Square” for the Veterinary Complex, providing opportunities for informal meetings, social gatherings, performances, and dining, while clarifying circulation and providing connections to a new shared central courtyard, the medical center, and teaching and research spaces.
These teaching spaces include two new wood-lined, double story tiered lecture halls which support seating for up to 160 people each and can be combined to provide an amphitheater for larger scale symposiums, lectures, and performances. Additionally, two new 60-seat flat-floor classrooms allow for multiple teaching configurations. Renovated lecture halls and laboratories, as well as new seminar rooms, a cafeteria, and administrative suites within the existing complex encircle the Gallery, providing a seamless transition between the existing and the new.
The redesign significantly increases the energy efficiency of the new spaces as well as the existing Research Tower, featuring sustainably-harvested wood as well as local and recycled materials. Radiant floor heating and cooling is employed throughout the new spaces and displacement ventilation is utilized in the new multi-height spaces. A new curtainwall on the existing Research Tower replaces a single-paned glass façade providing improved thermal performance. A long north-facing clerestory and several skylights provide natural daylight without adding solar heat gain to the interiors. Surrounding the College is a reimagined landscape with native plantings and an Entry Plaza featuring a bioretention basin for more efficient storm water management, in addition to an overall reduction in impervious surfaces. The new building is illuminated with LED lighting and site lighting complies with ‘dark sky’ requirements. The project is anticipated to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The design expands the existing College through strategic interior renovations and bold new additions, creating a coherent internal campus that is a compelling expression of the vitality and critical relevance of veterinary medicine. This project reaffirms the College’s position as a global leader that values innovation through collaboration.
WEISS/MANFREDI is a multidisciplinary design firm in New York City known for its dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design. Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, their projects include the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the University of Pennsylvania’s Nanotechnology Center, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, and the Barnard College Diana Center. They are currently redesigning the United States Embassy campus in New Delhi, India and are designing a new tower for innovative technological research on the University of Toronto’s campus. WEISS/MANFREDI has won numerous awards and their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, the Louvre, and the Guggenheim Museum.