After 20 years occupying 3 floors of Kennedy Hall, Cornell University’s Department of Communication has moved
to a new, 19,000-square-foot space located on the fourth floor of the University’s Mann Library. The move accommodates the Department’s evolution and growth, providing additional space for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Designed by JMZ Architects and Planners, the new facility features state-of-the-art research labs
and open workspace to foster the department’s mission of transforming communication through innovative and interdisciplinary research and learning.
Poulin + Morris developed a comprehensive branding, environmental graphics, donor recognition, and wayfinding sign program for the Department’s new home with a focus on connecting and engaging people. Dimensional letters affixed directly to the main entrance’s glass partition wall identify the Department while large-scale outline letters display the word “communication” across the glass partition. Visible through this glass, the Faces
of Communication wall showcases a vibrant montage of images relevant to the department and the study of communication. The wall features duotone portraits of friends, students, and alumni of the department; visual metaphors conveying the diversity of the department and the modern technologies that aid in the research
and study of communication; as well as graphic panels showing playful social media icons and abstract croppings
of the Cornell seal.
Outfitted with café-style seating, workstations, LCD screens for laptop hookup, mobile whiteboards, and a kitchen, the “Hub” is the heart of the new offices emphasizing openness and mobility to facilitate impromptu meetings
and spontaneous collaboration. Located at the “Hub,” the Words of Communication wall serves as a large-scale interactive word game which displays magnetic-receptive panels featuring a selection of over 100 words where staff, students, and visitors are encouraged to communicate with others by arranging the words around the wall, forming various phrases and sentences.
To disseminate department information in an efficient and consistent manner, the designers created design standards and templates for a main electronic display located in the main entrance lobby, displaying various notifications such as general announcements, a calendar of events, press clips, faculty directory, and ongoing research projects.
Large-scale graphic treatments were also developed for floor to ceiling interior glass partitions of the graduate laboratories and offices. Based on linear elements found in the main entrance typographic treatment, abstract patterning composed in clear and white vinyl appear more transparent at the top of the walls to allow the flow of light, and more opaque toward the bottom to provide privacy.
The overall program provides a welcoming and casual atmosphere for the Department’s newly integrated home while celebrating the power of communication.
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Department of Communication
Ithaca, New York
JMZ Architects and Planners
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