Cornell University Student Housing

Ithaca, NY
Ikon.5 Architects

Project Overview

The Cornell University North Campus Residential Expansion project was developed in anticipation of the University’s growing class size, coupled with its commitment to provide underclassmen with quality housing options on campus. A two-phase, LEED Gold, 776,000 SF expansion of the student life residential complex, the North Campus Residential Expansion project is a community-within-a-community that introduces a collection of three-story and six-story buildings to Cornell’s picturesque residential campus. Consisting of two new sites with villages of both structures and courtyards, the expansion provides 2,000+ new beds for first year and sophomore students. Both sites are composed of three to five story courtyard buildings that are sited and arranged to engage and respond to the adjacent campus, as well as enhance the student life experience. Students can collaborate and socialize in numerous lounges, meeting spaces, classrooms and kitchens found throughout all five buildings. Despite the obstacles of COVID-19 shutdown, workforce constraints, and supply chain issues, the project was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget, with the first phase delivered more than two months early and the second phase turned over four months early.

The key challenge was to utilize a modern aesthetic that would match the existing residential housing while meeting the owner’s cost expectations. Shockey Precast and the rest of the project team opted for a cost-effective precast barrier wall system embellished with terra cotta tiles that achieved Cornell’s visual objectives, scheduling demands, and long-term service needs. The project utilized 1,544 insulated precast wall panels and more than 70,000 terra cotta tiles in varying shades of gray and red embedded within 240,000 square feet of architectural precast. The facades are developed as a modern re-interpretation of the neighboring brick and stone dormitory buildings that currently share Cornell University’s North Campus. The ground floor public areas are highly transparent to promote outward social interaction, while upper-level residential lounges, located at building ends and corners, are also heavily glazed to capture campus views and act as beacons of activity. Each new building was constructed to embody the individual identities of its unique freshmen and sophomore residents and offer open spaces for undergraduates of varying years to make connections between classes.

ENR New York Project of the Year: Cornell University North Campus Expansion

Cornell University Project Wins AGC NY Award

Project Details

240,000 insulated precast concrete wall panels; 1,544 pieces
Three to five story buildings
70,000 cast-in terra cotta tiles

Architectural Details & Finishes

Cast-in terra cotta tiles in various shades of red, grey and black
Grey terra cotta tiles have two texture variations - flat and ribbed

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"Metromont was an excellent partner and worked seamlessly, closely to collaborate almost as an extension of our design team. It’s incredible how quickly it all came together.”
Scott Johnston
AIA Johnston Design Group
"The precast concrete design was able to meet the stringent performance requirements of the structure while providing an aesthetically pleasing, sustainable final product at an affordable price point."
Ben Townes
Townes + Architects
"Metromont’s team embraced our idea and got their whole team on board. It’s one thing for sales managers to want to make architects happy, but to have the plant manager, the finishing crew foreman and engineers fully engaged is something else. Metromont was extremely cooperative – the project was a win-win for everyone.”
K.J. Jacobs, AIA
McMillan Pazdan Smith

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