thoughts on milstein hall

Milstein Hall is a proposed addition to the existing architecture facilities at Cornell University, designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (Rem Koolhaas). At the time of this writing, a building permit has been obtained, but there have been doubts raised about the propriety of going ahead with construction in light of the university’s financial crisis. I personally admire the design of this building, but recognize that this is a subjective judgment which may need to be tempered by more objective analysis. I also acknowledge that placing this project “on hold,” or canceling it entirely, may or may not be catastrophic for the department of architecture, depending on how Cornell responds.

In terms of an objective analysis of the Milstein Hall project, I seek to address several misrepresentations about the building that have been advanced by Cornell:

1. That the project is necessary for the continued accreditation of the department of architecture;

2. That the project “connects” the various programs of the College;

3. That the project is a sustainable building;

4. That the project takes appropriate consideration of the Landmark status of Sibley Hall and the Foundry; and

5. That the project provides flexible space for the college and university.

These concerns are addressed more thoroughly in this memo.

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