You can’t miss the bench on the West Terrace Entry Plaza of Cornell University’s Human Ecology Building. Designed by New York-based Gruzen Samton Architecture with W Architecture, the low wavelike cast-concrete wall with cantilevered marigold yellow acrylic seat runs the full length of the terrace’s north side.
Engineering and fabricating this unusual element was an interesting challenge for the Studio 431 team. No two curves of the ninety-one foot long concrete spline are exactly alike, so Studio 431 engineers used a laser scan of the poured wall, rather than CAD data, to define the curves for seventeen separate seat sections. Mounting was achieved via a pocket along the spline into which the 2” thick acrylic seat sections are slotted and secured from the back.
Studio 431 provided the performance criteria used by the material manufacturer to develop a special HV protective formulation for the acrylic material that prevents fading and material degradation.
Case study written by Gail Greet Hannah.
Gail Greet Hannah is a writer on design process, products and the environment and a frequent contributor to Landscape Forms publications.
Recent books are Elements of Design, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002; and, with co-author Bill Main, Site Furnishings: A Complete Guide to the Planning, Selection and Use of Landscape Furniture and Amenities, Wiley, 2009.