Cornell College

Thomas Commons Campus Center

Mount Vernon, IA

Project Details

Thomas Commons Campus Center

The addition and renovation to Thomas Commons bring sweeping changes to Cornell’s student center, adding a welcoming entrance, lobby, and glass-enclosed marketplace dining addition. Located along the campus walk, the  Commons creates outdoor spaces which frame the beautiful campus landscape and support the ebb and flow of student life. A new façade to the 1966 building adds vibrancy and blends with Cornell’s historic campus and architecture. In refining the building’s image and identity, the project created a front door to the college, embodying its cultural and architectural heritage and providing a showcase of campus life and achievements.  

The previous Commons’ flat roofline was tempered by a pitched roof on the new additions. Large areas of glass fill the building with natural light and break down barriers so students can “see and be seen.” The modern dining and servery provide a greater variety of fresh food stations. The open plan offers engaging views from the lobby through the marketplace to the valley beyond. An addition to the east along the campus walk increased dining and event space. The Orange Carpet, Cornell’s popular “living room” area, remains the building’s unique hub. 

The project resulted in a striking building that meets the highest needs and goals, while leaving room for additional growth. Giving new life to the Thomas Commons fostered what has always been Cornell’s strength—its community.

Inspiration Image 1Inspiration Image 2Inspiration Image 3Inspiration Image 4Inspiration Image 5Inspiration Image 6
Process Image 1Inspiration Image 7Process Image 2Process Image 3Process Image 4Process Image 5