Cornell Child Care Center

Location: Ithaca, NY
Size: 16,000 SF

Driven by a passion for scholarship and a commitment to its community, Cornell University worked with studioMLA to design and build a new child care center with an observation component for research. On a gateway site at the edge of Palmer Woods, the Center serves 180 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, of Cornell student, faculty, and staff families.

The Center provides spaces full of natural light for child and play-centered learning, including a children’s library, readers’ nook and outdoor gardening boxes. The plan is organized around an earth-bermed common motor skills space with direct access to the courtyard. All circulation within the building occurs by ramps rather than stairs and an elevator. To both respect the natural topography minimize height, the building steps down with the natural grade.