The New Academic Center achieved a LEED Platinum rating, the first for Cornell's core campus. While the obligation to meet the University's green building criteria was a given, the design was largely influenced by historic preservation and an interest in maintaining views of an historic quadrangle and valuable campus green space. These drivers led to a comprehensive design process in alignment with the University's long term goals for overall campus redevelopment. The first phase initiative, a below-grade classroom addition, provides new space for Law School programs in an exceptionally energy efficient building with concurrent environmental benefits, including preservation of open space and enhanced storm-water management. In addition, as a thoughtful addition to a landmark building, the project emphasized the use of both existing and local building materials.

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Author notes


Senior Associate, Ann Beha Architects, 33 Kingston Street, Boston, MA 02111,T: 617.226.1600, Email:


Energy and Environmental Engineering, Facilities Engineering Department, 102 Humphreys Service Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, Email:


Assistant Professor, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology 3421 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, Email: