MODERNIST DESIGN MEETS INNOVATION
BY 2013, ITHACA COLLEGE’S WHALEN CENTER FOR MUSIC WAS IN SEVERE DISREPAIR. THE EXTERIOR CONCRETE PANELS WERE FAILING AND BEGINNING TO CRUMBLE OVER THE ENTRANCE, CREATING A DANGEROUS SCENARIO FOR VISITORS ATTENDING CONCERTS AT THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC. THE COLLEGE MADE THE TOUGH DECISION TO CLOSE THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE PUBLIC, TO PREVENT ANY INJURIES TO PEDESTRIANS.
With over 300 yearly concerts and events already booked, time and safety were the most critical factor in decisions regarding the necessary renovations. The college tasked architectural firm King & King to design a solution that could be
completed during the summer season when the campus was not quite as active. Even then, however, there would still be student safety to consider since the college hosts numerous band camps.
Since the original construction of Ford Hall in 1962, Ithaca College has expanded its programs and lists nearly 7000 full-time students. King & King’s design for the renovation also had to include an expansion of the building to accommodate the growing student population.
RECLADDING AT A FASTER TEMPO
A high-quality exterior material with a reputation for easy handling, Trespa® Meteon® panels helped ensure that the recladding of the building's façade was completed before the 2014 fall semester began. The Trespa® Meteon® panels offered long-lasting durability and low maintenance, allowing the college to avoid its current problem of deteriorating external materials in the future. The low maintenance of Trespa® Meteon® would also keep the renovation looking new despite the heavy foot traffic around and throughout the campus’ central building.
PANELS WITH PRESTIGE
Both the architects and the college wanted to update the hall’s look, without losing the distinguished feel of the building. To accomplish this, Trespa® Meteon® panels in English Cherry were chosen. Marrying the wood aesthetic with exposed fasteners harmonized the building’s original Modernist design with Ithaca’s prestigious heritage. Also, the option to use large panel sizes offered the simplistic aesthetic the college wanted for this building. The scale of the larger panels with the increased size of the building simply made sense. Using an exterior cladding product with a great deal of design flexibility made recladding the massive building a much easier process.
The 69,000 square foot building houses the original Ford Hall, a 246-seat recital hall, a recording studio, rehearsal rooms and over 30 faculty studios. The James J. Whalen Center for Music, named for the College’s sixth president in 1999, serves as the main building for Ithaca College’s School of Music since 1965. The Center for Music is centrally located on the main campus.
“As a designer I appreciated the various panel sizes available, which
allowed us the flexibility to create an efficient solution that was compatible with the building’s existing structure. Considering the
height of the installation though, it was the lack of maintenance required for the Trespa® Meteon® panels that became the deciding
factor for Ithaca College.”
- Dustin Ehrlich, King+King
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