October 17, 2022

Design Firm WORKac to Lead Sibley Dome Renovation

AAP announces selection of New York City–based design studio to lead the Sibley Dome renovation project.

By Edith Fikes

White building dome against a blue sky with cloud cover

Sibley Hall Dome exterior. Bill Staffeld / AAP

Approximately one month into an anticipated nine-month design process for a comprehensive overhaul of the Sibley Hall Dome, the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) at Cornell has announced a major step forward. A committee of AAP faculty, staff, and representatives from the University Architect's office has announced their selection of WORKac, a New York City-based architecture firm founded by Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, to lead the project team.

"We are thrilled to have been selected for this project. Sibley Dome has long been thought of as the heart of AAP," say Andraos and Wood. "To have the opportunity to reimagine the space as a central incubator that will invite and foster new forms of collaboration, research, teaching, and learning across various disciplines of the built environment is a true privilege."

In their proposal, submitted among six others, WORKac demonstrated extensive experience in designing campus buildings for institutions of higher education, with a particularly strong background and interest in creative solutions for historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects.

The firm's work spans nearly two decades and includes the award-winning Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, the Rhode Island School of Design's Student Success Center, the Beirut Museum of Art at Saint Joseph University, and Diane von Furstenberg Studio Headquarters in New York City, which won numerous awards including the MASterwork Award for Best Historic Renovation by the Municipal Art Society.

The Sibley Dome renovation is now underway and is projected to be complete by August 2024. The project is made possible largely through contributions from generous donors, as well as university funding. The scope of work includes but may not be limited to the repair and replacement of the existing dome roof and windows (to be approved by the Ithaca Landmark Preservation Committee); the creation of a large lecture hall; the conversion of the lower floor into classrooms, studios, collaborative workspace, meeting rooms, and offices; and addressing a number of other structural, aesthetic, and functional issues the space presents primarily due to age.

"Sibley Dome has the potential to be a vital hub for AAP and Cornell," says Dean J. Meejin Yoon. "A priority for the renovation is to provide greater opportunity to advance our academic mission by creating critical spaces to gather, learn, research, and collaborate. This is central to our community and the future of the college as we continue to collectively recognize the importance of coming together as scholars and creative practitioners across disciplines to build a better world."


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