Some members of the Cornell University community have begun a movement to halt the planned construction of Milstein Hall to be designed by Dutch architects, Rem Koolhaas of OMA. which comes just after the final approval for construction to begin. Opponents of the project state that they feel it should be scraped due to an over-extended school budget and the fact that the project will not receive a LEED Gold rating while those supporting the project say that the Koolhaas project is a vital move for the school's success, and that canceling the project could lead to a lack of accreditation.
It should be noted though that the majority of the faculty do feel that the project should continue on schedule and are incensed that their opponents have gone to various media outlets making it seem like all of the Ithaca community are opposed to Koolhaas' proposal. Adrian Lewis, Professor of Operations Research and Information Engineering points out that any delay in starting construction, will be detrimental to the school. He went on to state that NAAB (the national architecture accreditation board) "has warned us for over a decade, and have explicitly stated that the last accreditation we got is the FINAL one they will grant without compliant facilities. They have just denied us an accreditation review for our new M.Arch 1 program this spring because of delays to the final approval process. When they return next year, they plan to review both the M1 and B.Arch programs -- if we don't have a building in process at that point, the B.Arch will LOSE its accreditation, and the M1 will be denied the same."
As can be imagined, losing their accreditation will be catastrophic for Cornell as enrollment will decline and current students would begin to transfer out causing a precipitous decline in tuition obtained and the reputation of the school. These all seem like a lot to lose just because the design will not get a LEED Gold certificate and whatever costs are spent on the building will be worth it since their accreditation depends on it so much. Besides, Koolhaas presented his design to the school two years ago and won their unanimous approval then. So did they just realize that it would not be awarded the LEED Gold?
Image obtained from: www.archinect.com