The first PDF here is Cornell’s Facilities Services brief on this capital project, and the second is the initial presentation to the City of Ithaca Planning Board by Koetter Kim & Associates, the architects (they also did Clark Hall, the super-modern Physical Sciences Building across the street; for a peek inside, see Ithacating’s article). Right off the bat, I think it’s fascinating to see the contrast between this style of architecture and the historic academic buildings. Many college campuses exhibit this dynamic, since it isn’t feasible or desirable to build stone palaces anymore, but the Cornell campus certainly showcases some impressive work that attempts to balance this dichotomy.
Even if you’re not wild about modern architecture, or the contrast itself, it’s quite clear that Klarman Hall was designed to mesh and enhance programmatic elements. As you can see in the floor plans, the new structure will compliment Goldwin Smith’s symmetry by adding two interior hall wings, and passage space between the existing and new wing sets. In addition, the project creates a large open atrium space with a glass ceiling. Since Ithaca is usually quite cold, large interior spaces allowing abundant light can be imperative for students (or staff) less comfortable with the cold, grey, miserable season.
The technologies to be employed on this project are astounding as well. The aim is for LEED Platinum certification, so everything from occupancy & daylight light sensors to VAV duct controls are planned. I’ll single-out VAV (Variable air volume) systems because their usage is becoming more widespread now: essentially it controls the air handling and circulation units from the occupancy sensors. Most buildings waste a massive amount of energy servicing fresh air to spaces that have few or no occupants; in practice, you need less air (more specifically, makeup air) when you have less occupants. VAV systems control that aspect to achieve better efficiency.