Since 1905, the humanities at Cornell have had their home in Goldwin Smith Hall. But today many departments are facing a severe shortage of workspaces and classrooms. So for the first time in over 100 years, a new humanities building will be built at Cornell.
Located between Goldwin Smith Hall and East Avenue, the new building's central atrium will serve as a major crossroads for students and faculty from all over campus. The new, environmentally-friendly building will be a dominant presence on East Avenue, the main north-south connector for undergraduate students on campus.
This spectacular building will symbolically and physically welcome the rest of the campus to participate in the humanities and arts at Cornell.
The transparent glass façade allows views into the new atrium space from Physical Sciences Building, Rockefeller Hall, the East Slope Lawn across East Avenue, and by those walking along East Avenue.
The building's East Avenue frontage makes it highly visible and accentuates its role in connecting the Arts Quad to East Avenue, East slope and the Cornell East Campus.
The atrium is covered by a glass roof and an environmental sunshade, which are both being designed to provide optimal daylight and energy performance throughout the year.
The external promenade along East Avenue, offers gathering spaces and a view into the interior courtyard. Stairways on either end provide outdoor access to the Arts Quad.
Klarman Hall’s living roof will create an elevated garden atmosphere for those using the outdoor tables, reduce stormwater run-off, and minimize the heating and cooling loads of the building.
This view from the north end of Klarman Hall toward East Avenue shows the living roof and terrace atop the ground-floor auditorium, which are bordered by the glass-enclosed first floor hallway.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the building design so modern?
Accepted historic preservation guidelines mandate that new work be differentiated from old. As a United Nations memo details, "contemporary architecture and preservation of the historic urban landscape should avoid all forms of pseudo-historical design, as they constitute a denial of both the historical and the contemporary alike. One historical view should not supplant others, as history must remain readable, while continuity of culture through quality interventions is the ultimate goal."
The transparent design of Klarman Hall allows it to honor Goldwin Smith Hall while clearly being of its own historical period. As noted architectural critic Paul Goldberger has said, the design engages Goldwin Smith "in an appropriate formal dialogue" that does not mimic or confuse the original ordering principles of the building, thus successfully meeting the standard for historic preservation.
Q: What effect will the building have on the Arts Quad?
A: Klarman Hall will provide access to the Arts Quad without being visible from the Arts Quad. It will be located behind Goldwin Smith on East Avenue, with a roof lower than Goldwin Smith's, an architectural solution that respects the beauty of both Goldwin Smith and the Arts Quad.
Q: Will there be access between Goldwin Smith and the building?
A: Yes, on the ground, first, and second floors.
Q: Will there be a place to eat in Klarman Hall?
A: A large café will be housed in the lower level of the rotunda of Goldwin Smith, where Career Services and Advising are now located. The rotunda will be modified to open into the atrium in Klarman Hall. This new café location will have expanded seating and a barista serving espresso, lattes, and more..
Q: How big will Klarman Hall be?
A: The building is estimated at 66,500 square feet; the 33,250 net area includes a 7,700 square foot atrium. In comparison, Morrill Hall has a net area of 32,176 square feet.
Q: Who will move into Klarman Hall?
A: The best arrangement is still being explored. However, it is definite that the Department of Romance Studies will move, in order to bring all the European literature departments into one building.
Q: Will there be new offices or classrooms?
A: The building includes approximately 124 spaces the size of a faculty office. These spaces are organized in groups of three to align with the structural grid of the building and to allow flexibility in converting spaces from one use to another. These modules could include single faculty offices or could be combined to provide department offices, meeting rooms or conference rooms.
Q: Will there be anywhere to sit outside?
A: On the south side, a ground-level courtyard will feature seating and a walkway and serve as a gathering spot for quiet outdoor study. On the east side, an exterior promenade will run the entire length of the building, providing extensive tree-lined walking and gathering space. On the north side, a green walkway with a small seating area will provide an entrance to the building.
Q: When will construction begin?
A: The target date to begin construction is summer of 2013.
Q: When will the building be completed?
A: The target completion date is by the end of 2015.
Q: How will the building be paid for?
A: The project is being funded through philanthropy.
East Avenue road closures announced. Read more here.
Construction schedule for 2014
Past news stories
The new building will benefit the entire college, with the large auditorium available for classes and lectures across the arts, humanities and sciences, and the new atrium offering a year-round gathering space for the community. We invite you to be a part of this new icon that will soon rise at the heart of the college.
Please contact David Whitmore for information about naming opportunities and other ways to contribute to Klarman Hall; 607-255-8478 or email@example.com.
Cutting-edge Environmental Technologies
- Occupancy and daylight sensors to reduce the demand for electric lighting
- Extensive green roof systems on top of the office blocks to reduce heating and cooling needs
- High performance glazing and optimized shading over the atrium to reduce solar heat gain
- Light wells to allow daylight to penetrate the office block interior
- A heat recovery unit to recapture heat energy from the return air system in the offices
- A radiant floor system in the atrium to provide heat
- Variable air volume (VAV) technology to provide energy efficient ventilation
- Chilled water from the campus' lake source cooling system to reduce cooling requirements
- Chilled beams to provide energy efficient heating and cooling to the offices