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Bill & Melinda Gates Hall features a new Entry Plaza located at the intersection of Hoy and Campus Road. A gently-sloped ramp connects Campus Road from the Entry Plaza at the northwest corner of the site while a monumental stair facing Hoy Field demarcates the southwest corner. Protected overhead from the weather, the Entry Plaza incorporates a hardscaped area and provides a new outdoor, communal space for public and social use.

In addition to providing CIS with essential academic areas, the spatial layout of the new CIS Building generates new opportunities for social and academic interaction among its students, researchers, faculty and administrators. Both the Atrium and the corridors are designed to foster these important social and academic exchanges.


The Atrium, visible from the Entry Plaza, consists of an enclosed space four floors high. The building’s social, communal, conference and circulation spaces are organized around this atrium space. These user-activated spaces have views above and below the atrium, visually connecting its users across the floors. From below, the Atrium provides glimpses of the activities above while also providing a large open area for meetings and peer interactions. The Ground Floor foyer is connected to the building’s first floor through an open, south-facing, two-story space that provides exterior views to the South Plaza while con-necting the viewer back to the campus. Finally, an additional open stairway located west of the atrium provides an efficient connection to the upper building floors.


Gates Hall strives to capture and express the dynamic and transformative power of the discipline it houses. Constructed of perforated stainless steel panels, the folding exterior skin creates a three-dimensional, textural surface that transforms the building’s appearance with the changing days and seasons. This system of horizontal stainless steel panels, optimized for lower cost and constructability, transforms along the building perimeter. The perforated veil covers the second and third floors, allowing for diffusive daylighting while also providing sun shading. The patterning, geometry and detailing of the panels have been achieved through advanced computational modeling and CAD tools, a direct testament to the value of computing in the arts and sciences.

Lecture Hall

The First Floor houses student-centric administrative spaces, including Student Service’s Suites and Deans’ Suite, as well as public spaces, such as the Seminar Room and Conference Rooms. These program components benefit from their direct adjacency to the Main Lobby, as well as to the Lecture Hall below.

An exterior, south-facing entry is located on the ground floor and connects to the Lecture Hall foyer. The foyer, in turn, is open to the building’s first floor through a double-story opening. The south glazed façade provides visual access to the campus as well as daylight for the Ground Floor. The Lecture Hall foyer is flexible in its function; it provides break-out areas for CIS and Cornell sponsored Lecture Hall events, as well as a meeting and gathering space for students, faculty and visitors.

Labs/Conference Room

Located on the southeast corner of the first floor, the Large Conference Room offers prime south-facing views to the existing engineering quad, Hoy Field and beyond. The room can host formal meeting presentations, informal group studies or group events.

Project Lab 3 is conveniently located on Gates Hall’s first floor near the Lecture Hall and student Project Labs. This lab can be divided into two spaces for flexible use, supporting both student group projects and interactive classes.

The Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab space is located on the second floor of the CIS Building, along the north building perimeter. The layout provides a flexible, multi-functional space to support collaborative projects, including building and designing projects and testing applications. A separate break-out room, visually connected to the Lab through a full-height glass wall, enhances opportunities for collaboration among faculty, researchers and students.