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 used by both undergraduate and graduate students 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. 

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. 

College of Human Ecology Computer Labs and Meeting Rooms

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 and fourth floors of MVR Hall and on the Terrace level of HEB. These spaces feature rotating exhibitions of both student and faculty work. 

MVR Gallery

This gallery in 1250 MVR Hall 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. 

Fourth Floor Gallery

This gallery on the fourth floor of MVR Hall provides another space to show student work in the department.

Jill Stuart Gallery

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

HEB Terrace Displays

Glass cases line the high-traffic hallway outside the Jill Stuart Gallery showing student-curated selections from the Costume and Textile Collection. Through these projects students explore the history and culture of fabrics and apparel.

dLib - Design Resource Library

Located in room 1424 MVR Hall, the Design Resource Center (dLib) inspires students with the most up-to-date 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 of all disciplines, 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.

Students in a design library

High school students visiting Dlib

Digital Design and Fabrication Studio (D2FS)

Located on a lower level of the Human Ecology Building, the Digital Design and Fabrication Studio provides a suite of equipment for constructing and modeling projects.  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 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 other 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.