Cornell University — Mui Ho Fine Arts Library
Ithaca, N.Y.
Award of Merit

Owner: Cornell University
Lead Design Firm | Civil, Structural and MEP Engineer: STV Inc.
General Contractor: Welliver McGuire
MEP Engineer: STV Inc.
Geotechnical Engineer: John P. Stopen Engineering
Steel Contractor: Raulli & Sons

Cornell University has transformed a 107-year-old industrial building on its Ithaca, N.Y., campus into the new Mui Ho Fine Arts Library.

The three-story Rand Hall underwent an extensive overhaul, with its upper two floors now featuring a centerpiece of dense stacks housing 125,000 volumes of the College of Architecture, Arts and Planning collection. It also has digital resources, reading areas, group and individual study spaces and 8,000 sq ft of shop space on the first floor.

The team removed the existing third floor, raising the roof by nearly 4 ft to create a 30-ft-high open bay. Steel stacks hang from the long-span roof structure, nestled within a matrix of galvanized metal grating walkways, aluminum shelving and metal stairs. Those features required extensive quality control during offsite fabrication and installation on site.

The team also restored the masonry exterior, added perimeter chevron bracing frames and installed micropiles to reinforce new support and roof systems. The LEED Gold project, begun in late 2017, ultimately gave Cornell’s architecture students a modern design case study.

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