Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates helped dedicate the new Bill and Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, last week. Completed in January 2014, the project is one of the first in which our Structural Engineering and Façade Engineering practices teamed up to provide services all the way through the construction phase. The building is the home for the university’s Computing and Information Science departments comprising computer science, information science and statistics. Designed by architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the 100,500-square-foot, four-story building promotes collaboration and innovation through spaces that cultivate social and academic exchange. It contains research laboratories, teaching facilities, study/social spaces, offices, an auditorium and a partial below-grade mechanical level. The structural system consists of steel framing and concentrically braced steel cores. The cantilevered steel framing supports the entire façade system, which is composed of sloped and vertical glazing with integrated brackets that hold the perforated stainless steel shading panels. The high-efficiency glass façades and skylights allow for maximum daylight, while the panels reduce glare and cooling loads during the summer. By performing the engineering for both the façade and its structural support, we made it possible for the project team to address any proposed design changes quickly and efficiently. Our scope of work also included shop drawing review, calculations and thermal analyses from the contractor, and waterproofing for the entire envelope during the construction administration phase.
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