The postwar period brought extraordinary growth to the university. Many would say that some of the buildings built in this era do not move the spirit or contribute to the beauty of the campus. And in some cases, this is undeniable. Fortunately, during the last 30 years, a focus on campus planning and architecture has produced several noteworthy buildings that continue the positive evolution of the campus into the twenty-first century. Five Pritzker Prize–winning architects have designed buildings connecting the university into the larger cultural discussion worldwide. It is fitting that an internationally recognized institution of higher learning be expressed physically by artist’s rendering of the new Bill & Melinda Gates Hall thoughtful and stimulating architecture based on ideas as innovative as the research conducted within its walls.
It would be impossible to improve on Winston Churchill’s famous saying, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Students come to Cornell from all over the world. Some come from large cities; some from small towns. In addition to their studies, they will learn about the built environment. The campus and its buildings have the capacity—and the obligation—to teach about the importance of public space, sustainability, craft, beauty, creativity, and all humanistic pursuits that enrich the soul and fashion more complete citizens of the world.