Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, part of Ivy League university Cornell, is an internationally recognized leader in veterinary education and research. Its recently renovated building was designed by the NYC-based studio Weiss/Manfredi.
The new expansion and reconfiguration needed to transform the old complex – a disconnected collection of individual buildings – into a more unified campus that clearly communicated the innovative teaching and research happening at the College.
Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, co-founders of Weiss/Manfredi, were the principal designers of the project. They have extensive experience in the field of education, as both have been architecture/design lecturers at leading Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Princeton. This is why they were very aware of the needs, desires and requirements of a modern higher education building.
With the new expansion and reconfiguration, they wanted to add not only new classrooms and teaching spaces, but also new public spaces for programmed and spontaneous activities.
When interviewed by Arper on the project, they said: “We're always toggling between spaces that are brightly colored and spaces that are more neutral, between a bright active light filled setting and then one that is more neutral, quieter. “Whatever we do whether it's the selection of furniture or the creation of a skylight there's a certain inevitability about it that makes it somewhat timeless.
This project was really about bringing people together and using architecture spaces to allow those kind of very productive frictions between an educator, a student and a lab technician. Innovation happens not through planned encounters, but through the ones that are spontaneous. Our idea is not to have beginnings and ends of spaces but to have continuity.”