Cornell University, Africana Studies and Research Center

Ithaca, NY | 2005

The award-winning Africana Studies and Research Center gives Cornell a highly visible emblem of the history, values, and culture of African peoples. Two pavilions, totaling 6,000 s.f., were added to a 11,600 s.f 1950s building to create a village complex with a shared exterior courtyard. The exterior brick patterns were inspired by the earth tone palette and rich textures of traditional African textiles. Large windows provide abundant natural light and views, creating a sense of openness and invitation. Circulation paths connect individual program spaces, each of which represents a core value of the Center: scholarship (the library pavilion); community (the multipurpose pavilion); and leadership (the faculty office and classroom pavilion). This integrated learning community reflects the Center’s commitment to support collaborative education techniques as well as focused, individual research.


  • Square Footage: 6,000 s.f.
  • Construction Cost: $2,600,000
  • > Awards
  • > Quote

Shepley Bulfinch Team

Ralph Jackson
Joseph Rondinelli
Joseph Bille
David Bliss
Melanie Kiihn
Nomusa Ndebele



  • Citation, 2007 Awards for Excellence in Architecture, National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
  • 2006

  • 2006 Gold Award, Brick in Architecture Awards

View awards list »

"This facility puts to rest the question of where we should be located geographically. We've always been at the heart of the intellectual enterprise of this campus." "Robert Harris, Vice-Provost, Diversity and Faculty Development and Professor of Africana Studies

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch