The Department of Human Centered Design is housed in both the Human Ecology Building, a LEED Platinum facility, and in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, which is certified LEED Gold.  HCD has a series of specialized instructional and research facilities that are available to students: 

Apparel Labs

Apparel labs are used by both undergraduate and graduate students and are accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They contain industrial production equipment for wovens and knits, as well as a state-of-the-art thermal bonding machine. The apparel CAD lab provides scanners, printers (with sample fabric printing capability), plotters, and digitizers. Software includes  the latest versions of Adobe, Optitex, and Gerber software for graphic design and pattern design, including 3D patternmaking capability.  The knit studio has a variety of hand flat knitting machines and a Shima Seiki SRY 123 programmable electronic machine. 

Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection

The Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection (CF+TC) is housed in HCD and is used for exhibition, research, and teaching. The CF+TC holds over 9,000 items, including a fashion collection with materials from the 18th century to the present, and a textile collection including Coptic textiles, European examples from the Renaissance on, a lace collection supported by a major documentary archive in Mann Library, and an ethnographic collection including rare examples from all over the world.  Search and view the catalogue of the Collection online.

Design Galleries

HCD has multiple display spaces.  The MVR 1250 Gallery and the Jill Stuart Gallery feature rotating exhibitions of both student and faculty work.  Glass cases line the hallway of the Human Ecology Building showing student-curated selections from the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection. Two smaller display cases on the first and second floors of HEB  also are home to exhibits. The walls on the fourth floor of MVR and the Terrace Level of the Human Ecology Building are pinnable and used for critiques and to display student projects.

Design Resource Library (dLib)

Located in room 1424 MVR Hall, the dLib inspires students with current materials and innovative resources for interior designers, product designers, ergonomists and facility planners. It facilitates collaboration and exploration while developing smart solutions to conceptual and real world situations. dLib creates a learning hub for Design + Environmental Analysis students and professors, and provides a way to foster relationships with vendors and alumni. Product vendor representatives provide samples of the latest materials and products on the market and lunch-and-learn seminars.

dHIVE: Design Hub for Innovation, Visualization and Exploration

This 2,500-square-foot design studio is used for classes, group work and individual study, developing and testing prototypes, and digital fabrication including two 3-D printers and a laser cutter. Located in MVR 1101, the space is accessible 24/7 to Human Centered Design students.

Digital Design and Fabrication Studio (D2FS)

The Digital Design and Fabrication Studio  provides a variety of design computing resources, digital fabrication machines and professional services that support teaching and research needs for the department of Human Centered Design.   A wood shop, electronics studio, assembly studio, paint room, laser studio, and 3D print studio are available for use by students and faculty. Contact for questions.

Fiber Science Labs

Fiber science labs include a full range of textile testing equipment in a conditioned lab. A testing unit for characterizing fabrics for 3D virtual design is also available. 


As a working lighting installation, this lab in MVR 4250 provides students with hands-on experience with a diverse range of lighting fixtures currently on the market. Various bulb types and fixture housings illustrate a wide variety of lighting effects, from wall-washing to concentrated down-lighting.  Additionally, this space is used to teach the impact of different lighting systems on perception and the human response to lighting in the built environment. The tactile walls also make this a great critique space.

Natural Dye Garden

The Cornell Natural Dye Garden is a hands-on and direct source for students to learn how to cultivate, extract, and create colors on textiles. Located in the courtyard between the Human Ecology Building and Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, the garden is regularly used for teaching demonstrations and community outreach. 

Other Resources Outside the Department

Other labs available to student researchers within the college include the Human Metabolic Research Unit in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the SHED (Simulation and Human Engineering Design) Lab.

Students may access additional University facilities and collections. The Anthropology Department Collections contain many rare items, including a number of Pre-Columbian textiles. The Johnson Museum of Art houses not only art works but also some exceptional examples of ethnographic and historic textiles and costume.  Mann Library houses collections on apparel design and has extensive electronic resources including visual material collections.