Weill Hall was designed specifically to serve as the cornerstone of Cornell University’s Genomics Initiative: a campus-wide, faculty-driven research, development, and educational program intended to maintain Cornell’s leading role in the study of life sciences. The building merges biological, physical, engineering, and computational sciences in an effort to further the understanding of the social, legal, ethical, and business aspects of genomics by supporting research collaboration among faculty, students, and scientists from across the university.
The building takes the form of a thoughtful master planning gesture, with the main façade on Alumni Field redefining an important quad and bringing a new visual image to the University’s central campus. In dialogue with existing buildings across Tower Road, Weill Hall forms an enhanced entrance to campus, and its siting adjacent to related science buildings fosters connectivity and brings existing campus facilities into an ensemble relationship. Housed within the building’s four above-grade floors are research and teaching laboratories, genomic technology services, a distant learning center, and a business incubator, while and a substantial basement houses a vivarium and plant-controlled environment facilities.
Weill Hall consumes 30% less energy than comparable buildings. An emphasis on sustainability and conservation extended to all aspects of the design and construction process. Key environmental features include a living roof that covers over 50 percent of the building, hyper-efficient mechanical systems, and motion detectors to regulate light, temperature, and air flow throughout the interior. The project’s innovative environmentally sensitive design was recognized with Gold LEED certification.