Cornell University College of Art, Architecture and Planning 

Core Design Studio I, Fall 2016
Professors Caroline O’Donnell & Sasa Zivkovic
The CORNELL PLANTATIONS ZOO is at the intersection of an urban campus context and a natural landscape. This Visitor's Center serves as a transitional threshold to connect the campus to Cornell’s botanical gardens, a site of about 4,000 acres. The program includes an auditorium, café, study space, exhibition space and a roof terrace for viewing the surrounding scenery and the nightly bat exodus. 
The building’s site is located along a steep hill, with campus at the top and the plantations at the foot. The building is elevated and cantilevered over the hill to create both a roof terrace and a public patio space below it. Visitors coming from the campus side arrive at the roof terrace first, and then can descend below the hill to enter the building and arrive at the gardens. 
With local wildlife in mind, the building is home to Ithaca’s bat population. Crevices are carved into the exterior walls of the building’s columns, allowing for the bats to sleep in these spaces and to be viewed by visitors during the day. At night when the bats awaken, visitors can experience their magnificent departure from these cave-like voids that open up to the roof’s surface – a swarm of hungry bats emerging from slumber to hunt for dinner..
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