Designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates (Boston), Cornell University’s new 135,000 sf building for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (Cornell Bowers CIS) is now under construction. Bringing together the departments of Computer Science, Information Science, and Statistics and Data Science for the first time in one complex, the new building will create both a precinct and a destination for the university’s rapidly growing computing and information science programs. The multi-use building will connect to the college’s existing Bill & Melinda Gates Hall (Gates Hall), and, according to Dean Kavita Bala, “expand opportunities for student research and experiential learning with new research initiatives that will position us for continued world leadership in tech.”
Located at the southern gateway to Cornell’s Ithaca N.Y. campus and adjacent to one of its world-famous gorges, the new four-story building will define a highly identifiable Bowers CIS precinct of continuous building and open space, creating a magnet attracting students from multiple disciplines across the entire university. Its three research floors connected to Gates Hall will float above a lively and active ground floor framing an outdoor space for daily use, small gatherings, and large ceremonies.
The two wings of the building that will contain academic research offices and computational labs are joined by a suite of collaborative spaces on each of their upper floors. At the ground level, a student “ramble” along the courtyard edge will provide a place for individual and small group study, while a café, commons, large interactive classroom, a series of large builder labs, and a maker space will welcome students to collaborate. A ribbon of faceted sculptural metal fins will wrap the three-story research floors, creating a distinct identity for the building while maintaining a sustainable limited window area.
“Our goal is to create a place for both the dynamic exchange of ideas and for quiet focused research,” said Andrea Leers, Principal-in-Charge. Since creating the Faculty of Computing and Information Science in 1999, Cornell has experienced continued student growth in the computing and information science fields, which enabled the establishment and naming of the new college in December 2020. Today, the sustained dynamic growth and uniquely collaborative research fuels the college to both develop state-of-the-art computing and information technologies, and to study and understand the societal and human impact of these technologies.