Making Place at a Major Campus Gateway
SUNY Cortland sought to position its graduate programs for long-term growth with the School of Professional Studies leading the way. As such, the University engaged KSS to transform a nondescript brick and metal panel building prominently located at a main campus entrance to create an iconic first impression for visitors to SUNY Cortland and identity-rich home for its new tenant, the School of Professional Studies. The existing building, originally constructed as a manufacturing facility in 1948, had undergone past renovations and alterations which had rendered its mixture of converted spaces difficult to navigate, inefficiently organized, and inconsistent with the surrounding campus vocabulary and pedestrian flow. The design addresses this disorganization and lack of clear wayfinding by simplifying circulation and creating distinct areas for each of department. Teaching and learning spaces are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and open common areas support the school’s goal of becoming a 24-7 educational environment. New light wells filter natural daylight into the building which also features academic offices, clinics, laboratories, and support spaces.
To capitalize on its location as a major campus gateway, the renovation created a new building entrance that integrates rather than rebuffs the existing pedestrian pathways and supports the campus master plan. Meanwhile the addition features a separate, public entrance to the 8,000-square-foot clinic for the Communication Disorders and Sciences Department. Low masonry walls and metal screens with both aesthetic and pragmatic functions act as layered elements that connect and unify the existing building and addition.