Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Architect: Weiss/Manfredi

Owner: Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, New York

Award of Merit

Cornell University tasked Weiss/Manfredi with transforming their original College of Veterinary Medicine campus—a disconnected collection of ad-hoc buildings—into a cohesive campus that would signal the importance of the College and enable the school to advance research while offering an innovative curriculum for training future practitioners and researchers. Through outreach ranging from Ebola virus prevention to healthy pet clinics, and research ranging from invasive diseases to species tracking, the College works to support communities across the world by leading in research on animal health and infectious disease prevention.  

The 117,000-square-foot project features a 67,000 square foot expansion and 50,000 square foot  gut-renovation—adding teaching spaces, connecting the hospital to the College, and creating public forums for programmed and spontaneous activities within the same overall square-footage as the original complex.  

Located at the eastern terminus of Tower Road, the expansion provides an updated anchor to Cornell’s east-west campus axis. Here, a redesigned entry plaza is framed by a new Library Wing and re-clad Veterinary Research Tower providing a unified identity and front door to what was formerly a mixture of building styles and entries. Selective demolition of underutilized and non-adaptable structures created opportunities to reconnect existing laboratories and insert a series of classrooms and lecture halls centered around a wood-lined, three story space. The most notable newly constructed space is the Gallery which creates a “town hall” for the Veterinary Complex, providing opportunities for informal meetings, social gatherings, performances, and dining, while clarifying circulation and providing connections to teaching and research spaces, the medical center, and a new shared central courtyard.

"Meticulously detailed;a masterclass on interiors & luminous in its qualities." ~ Jury comment

The Gallery connects to teaching spaces that include two new wood-lined, double story tiered lecture halls which support seating for up to 160 people each and can be combined to provide an amphitheater for larger scale symposiums, lectures, and performances. Additionally, two new 60-seat flat-floor classrooms allow for multiple teaching configurations. Renovated lecture halls and laboratories, as well as new seminar rooms, a cafeteria, and administrative suites within the existing complex encircle the Gallery, providing a seamless transition between the existing and the new.  

The redesign significantly increases the energy efficiency of the new spaces as well as the existing Research Tower, featuring sustainably-harvested wood as well as local and recycled materials. Radiant floor heating and cooling is employed throughout the new spaces, and a new curtainwall on the existing Research Tower replaces a single-paned glass façade providing improved insulation. Surrounding the College are native plantings and an Entry Plaza featuring a bioretention basin for more efficient storm water management. During the day and at night, the building is illuminated with LED lighting.  The project is anticipated to achieve LEED Gold certification.  

The design expands the existing College through strategic interior renovations and bold new additions, creating a coherent internal campus that is a compelling expression of the vitality and critical relevance of veterinary medicine. This project reaffirms the College’s position as a global leader that values innovation through collaboration.

Additional information

Acoustical and AV Consultant: Shen Milsom & Wilke LLC

Consulting Engineers Construction Manager (at Agency): Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Cost Estimator: Dharam Consulting

Curtain Wall Consultant: Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers P.C.

Custom Area Rugs: Groundplans

Custom Millwork Furniture: Neudorfer

Engineer - Civil, Surveyor: T.G. Miller, P.C.

Engineer - Geotechincal & Environmental: SJB Services, Inc./Empire Geo Services, Inc

Engineer - MEPFP, IT Consultant: AltieriSeborWieber, LLC  

Engineer - PC Hazmat: Watts Architecture & Engineering, DPC

Engineer - Structural: Silman  

Food Service Consultant: Davella

Furniture Vendors: Arper, Knoll, Herman Miller, Stylex, Walter K, Andreu World

General Contractor: Welliver Curtainwall

Laboratory Consultant: Jacobs Consultancy, Inc.

Landscape Contractor: Van Putte  Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment

Lighting Designer: Brandston Partnership, Inc.

Millworker: Champion Millwork

Studios Code: Code Consultants

Subcontractors: Ventana (Installer), Colfab (Fabricator), Interpane (Glazing)

Sustainability and LEED Consultant: Atelier Ten

Vertical Transportation: Jaros, Baum & Bolles


Michael A. Nieminen, FAIA, (2019 Chair), Kliment Halsband Architects, New York, NY

Meryati Johari Blackwell, AIA, Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Jason Forney AIA, Bruner/Cott Architects, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Kim Tanzer, FAIA, Gainesville, Florida

JoAnn Hindmarsh Wilcox, AIA, Mahlum Architects, Seattle, WA

Image credits

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Albert Vecerka/Esto

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine-04 R

Albert Vecerka/Esto

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine-06 R

Albert Vecerka/Esto

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine-07 R

Albert Vecerka/Esto


Albert Vecerka/Esto