Reflective Construction @ Cornell

Every Tuesday and Thursday I walk by the construction zone of the soon to be Bill and Melinda Gates Hall that will house Computing and Information Science in January 2014.

Construction in Progress - Bill & Melinda Gates Hall
April 2013 Construction in Progress – Bill & Melinda Gates Hall

Every time I walk by, I notice the reflection it gives of its surroundings. In the photo, it is reflecting the image of clouds, but from other angles, a mix of trees, clouds, the sun, and peripheral buildings are reflected.  As I look at the building from various angles, I see different aspects of the trees and sun.

The reflected images appear skewed especially as I walk by and observe the changing images. The skewed reflections of trees and buildings lead me to look for the actual tree and buildings that are reflected. It is interesting to compare the abstracted reflection and reality.

Bill & Melinda Gates Hall already induces a sense of peace and harmony with the existing environment. I am not sure if the building will have LEED certification, but the design is excellent based on its ability to stimulate thoughts about what “real” and “abstracted” environments are.

Southwest Architectural Rendering of Bill & Melinda Gates Hall
Southwest Architectural Rendering of Bill & Melinda Gates Hall

The Human Ecology Building also has this reflective property, but it is more subtle with the use of windows.

Human Ecology Building
Human Ecology Building

Seen in the reflection are buildings and trees. Beyond the observable traits of reflections, there is also extensive information regarding the Human Ecology Building’s status as a Platinum LEED certified sustainable structure.

I was amazed to learn that during its construction, 1,050 tons of waste was diverted from landfills by recycling and reuse. It’s often forgotten than in the construction of anything, there is waste. Hopefully similar information will be available for Bill & Melinda Gates Hall.

The Human Ecology Building, which has followed LEED criteria, is a premier example of how buildings should be constructed. Thoughtful and ecologically conscious design is vital to minimize impact on the local environment. Built near Beebe Lake, the Human Ecology has minimized its land use by having its parking structure underneath the building.

Although Bill & Melinda Gates Hall is not near a natural landmark like Beebe Lake that encourages people to interact with nature, it is near several tracks and gyms where students go keep themselves healthy and nurture their well-being. The reflection of trees and the sky on the surface of Bill & Melinda Gates Hall is another de-stressor students can encounter as they walk towards tracks or gyms.


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