Great Glazing: Glass Flooring, Bill and Melinda Gates Hall, Cornell University


Photos courtesy of Jockimo

The basics:  The 101,500-square-foot Bill and Melinda Gates Hall, home to Cornell University’s Computing Science and Information Science departments, was primarily shaped by a constricted lot as well as the desire to add drama and character to this area of the campus. While the high-performance façade is a focal point of Gates Hall with its unitized glass curtain wall system and perforated stainless steel panels, further drama is created by a glass floor, visible inside as well as outside the building from the overhang of the entry plaza.

The players: Architect, Morphosis; general contractor, Welliver; contract glazier, W&W Glass; glass fabricator, Jockimo; metal supplier, Zahner

The glass and systems: Gates Hall, designed to maximize daylight and foster conversation, is organized around a glazed, skylit atrium on the building’s west side, and an entry plaza. Glass flooring from Jockimo, visible inside as well as out from underneath this cantilevered entrance, furthers the building’s design goals with respect to both light and drama. Glazing contractor W&W Glass oversaw its installation. The project employs anti-slip rated privacy glass to create a walkable skylight. The bottom lite of the laminated panel is a Jockimo cast glass texture, which distorts viewing through the glass,

The plaza’s overhang is clad in orange metal from Zahner to add vibrance and color.

“With the atrium and glass, the daylight and openness, we can feel connected to the various departments and people,” says Kavita Bala, a professor of computer science. 'It's a big difference in the quality of life for the students.”

Read more about Gates Hall and its other project partners here.