Cornell University

Moot Court

Ithaca, NY

Project Details

MacDonald Moot Court Renovation

In 1932, Cornell University Law School moved into the just-completed Myron Taylor Hall, a stately Gothic building by architects Eggers and Higgins. Its long and narrow moot court room was renovated and reconfigured in the 1980s to add functionality, but left outstanding issues - such as its poor acoustics and lighting. The room also lacked any audiovisual systems. For presentations or hearings, participants would literally roll in a chalkboard or projector.

Working closely with the law school, KSS Architects designed a renovation that would finally make the space into a world-class moot court room and teaching facility. The project preserved the space’s collegiate Gothic architectural character while improving the seating configuration, lighting and accessibility. A new acoustical system was integrated seamlessly into the room’s grand barrel vault ceiling, and the new audiovisual systems look as if they were part of the original design.

The moot court room features tiered seating for 100 students and a judges’ bench, petitioner and respondent tables and jury box made accessible in a manner that blends with the architectural surroundings. Rich, vibrant finishes, such as raised oak wall panels and oak and leather furnishings, give the room a reverent but engaging atmosphere.

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