Proj Overview


Through an impressive architectural precast project led by precast producer Shockey Precast, Cornell University’s long-held goal of designing additional housing for its first- and second-year students was realized. The North Campus Residential Expansion (NCRE) is a community-within-a-community project that introduces a collection of three-story and six-story buildings to Cornell’s picturesque residential campus. Consisting of two new sites with villages of both structures and courtyards, NCRE gives freshmen 1,200 beds and sophomores 800 beds to choose from during their education, along with dining facilities and recreation spaces. The challenge was to utilize a modern aesthetic that matches existing North Campus construction while meeting the owner’s cost and schedule expectations.


The NCRE project was originally designed as a rainscreen system with a terra cotta façade, but because this work wouldn’t meet Cornell University’s tight construction schedule, the team made some critical adjustments to this plan. To stay on track, the precast producer and design team selected precast insulated wall panels designed with a high R-value of 24 embedded with red and gray terra cotta tiles. The cost-effective architectural precast structures would complement North Campus neighbors and include transparent, glazed ground levels to encourage social interaction essential for student residents. Standing between three and six stories tall, each new building was built to embody the individual identities of its unique freshmen and sophomore occupants and offer open spaces for undergraduates of varying years to make connections between classes.

“For both of these extraordinary Cornellians, we wanted to create a memorial that would be seen by, and have its doors open to, any person at Cornell, reminding all of our Cornell students, not just those in a particular field or college, that their path from Cornell can take them anywhere.” Pollack says the NCRE “will mark a new chapter in residential life at Cornell, revitalizing and in many ways reinventing the student experience here.” – Martha E. Pollack, President, Cornell University


There are no records.
Project Team


ikon.5 architects


Thornton Tomasetti 




Integrated Acquisition and Development


Shockey Precast

Formliner Supplier

Architectural Polymers

Key Project Attributes

  • The new precast concrete NCRE buildings are a source of pride for Cornell University leaders and their students. With durable, high-quality materials and articulated façades, the residential halls achieve an innovative aesthetic appearance and create a lasting platform for community engagement as part of a cohesive Cornell area.
  • 2,000 student beds, dining facilities, and recreation spaces were added to the university’s North Campus.
  • Two of the new residence halls were named after distinguished trailblazing alumnae Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.


Project/Precast Scope

  • The project utilized 1,544 insulated precast wall panels with an R-value of 24 and more than 70,000 terra cotta tiles embedded within 240,000 square feet of architectural precast.