Cornell University, Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, Ithaca, NY

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Cornell University’s Bill & Melinda Gates Hall brought the Departments of Computer Science and Information Science (CIS) together in one facility in order to facilitate greater interaction between the CIS departments. The program for this site comprises 100,000 gsf of faculty offices, classrooms, laboratory space, department and program office space for the CIS faculty and students.

Our work included:

  • Chilled beams: A combination of active and passive chilled-beam system provides air distribution and comfort cooling throughout the building. The supply air from the air handler is dramatically reduced from a conventional all-air system, reducing energy costs, shaft space and ductwork size. Our innovative solution was the use of both systems in the same spaces, achieving the appropriate balance of meeting the cooling load and ventilation airflow.
  • Energy recovery system: The 100-percent outside air systems provide minimum ventilation requirement and dew-point control (dry air) to prevent condensation on the chilled beams. Air handling units are equipped with energy (enthalpy) wheels, allowing for the pre-cooling and preheating of the outdoor air.
  • Demand-controlled ventilation: CO2 sensors and airflow monitoring stations integrated with a variable air-volume system ensure that adequate outside air ventilation is supplied in densely occupied spaces based on the actual occupancy of the room. This also increases indoor air quality and saves energy.
  • Double-wall façade: The exterior face of the façade has a perforated metal skin, which provides sufficient external shading to allow the use of efficient, low-cost curtain wall behind this screen. Our engineers analyzed the secondary façade design to achieve an optimum balance between daylighting, reducing glare and at the same time reducing the cooling and heating energy consumption.
  • Four-story atrium: The atrium provides daylighting and visually connects adjacent spaces. Radiant-heating floors on the lower levels provide an energy-efficient solution that improves occupant thermal comfort.

Within the small building space available, Syska Hennessy Group and the entire design team managed to design an iconic, high-performing building with flexible and energy-efficient systems. With strong project management, collaboration and commitment to excellence, we met the project’s stringent energy goals, schedule and budget expectations.

Professional Category Award of Recognition, Eaton’s Cooper Lighting Division 2015 Annual SOURCE Awards

LEED Status
LEED© Gold for new construction

100,000 sf

Cornell University

Morphosis Architects

Welliver McGuire

MEP/fire protection
Architectural lighting design
Building Performance Modeling
Fire alarm and life safety
Energy services
Chilled-beam systems (active and passive)
Energy recovery – heat wheel
Occupancy sensor-based controls