Ithaca, N.Y. — Here we go: Courtesy of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Council (ILPC) Agenda, we have our first real look at plans for Cornell’s Fine Arts Library.

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The 21st Century Library Campaign — Tompkins County Public Library

Some images:

The new superstructure

Quoting the front page of the narrative, “rather than acting as a physical symbol, it radiates activity and occupation”. The university wanted the new superstructure, which they’re calling a “lantern”, to be as visible as possible from campus entry points, and it is claimed that the addition will bring “distinction and excellence to the campus.”

The building will have two entrances, one public and one for AAP only.

The interior will consist of four levels of mezzanine shelving for the Fine Arts Library’s collection, as well as interspersed work/study spaces.

Floor-to-ceiling space will range from 48 feet on the north side of the reading room to 7.5 feet in some sections of the library stacks. Long, unobstructed hallways will run the length of Rand Hall.

The large variation is meant to convey both grand spaces and “private engagement” with the books. The lantern will have a catwalk as well as working spaces.

The design replaces Rand’s multi-pane daylight-factory windows with single panes, removes the east stairwell, and is purposely designed to overhang above Rand, acting as a sort of canopy for rain and sunlight protection.

Apparently, the ILPC does get to review the addition, although looking at the agenda for the 14th, it doesn’t look like they’re making any decisions (and being just outside the Arts Quad Historic District, they may not be able to).

As previously covered, the architect is a Cornell alum, Vienna-based Wolfgang Tschapeller M.A. ’87. More of Tschapeller’s very avant-garde designs can be found at his website here.

The project is being funded in part by a multi-million dollar donation from Cornell alumna, architect and UC-Berkeley professor Mui Ho ’62 B. Arch ’66. No construction time frame or total cost have been given at this time.


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Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.