Our Buildings

HCD is a department within the College of Human Ecology and is housed in the Human Ecology Building, a  LEED Platinum facility housing Fiber Science & Apparel Design studios and classrooms and in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, an award-winning LEED structure, a “design for sustainable living” that boasts new creative studio space and research space. In addition to world-class libraries and outstanding computing facilities throughout the university, the Department of Human Centered Design has a series of more specialized instructional and research facilities students regularly use.

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. 

Body Scanners

The Cornell Body Scan Research Group owns two full body scanners, one permanently installed (Human Solutions Vitus XL) and one portable scanner  ([TC]2 NX 12) that can be transported for research off campus. A third high resolution scanner, with a smaller scan volume, is shared with the Department of Environmental Analysis.  The  FSAD/Cornell Body Scan Research Group also owns the latest technology biomechanic research instruments: A full-body inertial sensor motion capture system (Xsens Inc.), surface electromyography sensors (Noraxon Inc.) and in-shoe plantar pressure sensors (Tekscan Inc.). These portable research instruments can be used in both laboratory and outdoor environment. 

Computer Labs 

The College houses state-of-the-art computer labs and meeting rooms, including multiple CAD and other design labs.

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.  The search and view the catalogue of the Collection online.

Students and professor dress a mannequin in a white dress

Denise Green and students in the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection

Cornell Library System

The library system at Cornell is one of the ten largest in the US. Mann Library, the library for the College of Human Ecology, was renovated in 2007. Mann, which houses the collections on apparel design, is a state-of-the art facility with over 800,000 print volumes and extensive electronic resources including visual material collections. 

Design Galleries

HCD has gallery spaces on the first floor MVR Hall and on the Terrace level of HEB. These spaces feature rotating exhibitions of both student and faculty work.  Smaller display cases on the first and second floors of HEB  also are home to exhibits. The hallways of the fourth floor of MVR and the Terrace Level are pinnable and used to display student projects.

MVR 1250 Gallery

The MVR 1250 Gallery features rotating exhibitions of both student and faculty work. The glass facade allows work to be displayed into the main corridor, showcasing the work to students, faculty, and visitors. 

Jill Stuart Gallery

The Jill Stuart Gallery features student and visiting designer work throughout the academic year.

Terrace Level Display Cases

Glass cases line the hallway of the Human Ecology Building showing student-curated selections from the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection. Students explore the history and culture of fabrics and apparel in preparation for these exhibits.

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.

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 ched2fs@cornell.edu 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.