After much anticipation, construction on Martha Van Rensselaer (MVR) Hall began in August 2018. The renovations are the final phase of the complete upgrade to MVR Hall and are very exciting to the College. 

These changes aim to improve the quality, productivity and overall experience in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall (MVR), in part by creating spaces and designs that promote collaboration, creativity and community.

At the same time, the construction work significantly impacts the Human Ecology community and its visitors. The renovations required approximately 200 people to relocate to temporary office and research space. 

This MVR Renovation website gives a view of the project and helpful resources for faculty, staff, students, and visitors during the construction, including a quick way to search for people who might have moved to a new location during renovations.

The future MVR Hall - View What's to Come in the Gallery Below

(Updated images will be added throughout the process)

The rendering of Martha’s Café from the Commons Connection area
The rendering of Martha’s Café from the south view
The rendering of Martha’s Café from the northeast view
The rendering of the Auditorium Lobby
The rendering of the Auditorium from the southeast view
The rendering of Auditorium from the south view
The rendering of the Auditorium from the north view
The rendering of Auditorium, meeting room
The rendering of Auditorium Hallway
The rendering of seminar room, First floor
The rendering of Green Room from the southwest view
The rendering of Green Room from the south view
The rendering of 13 First Floor Stair Tower and Hub from thhe northeast view
The rendering of First Floor Hallway North
The rendering of Checker Board Square from the northeast view
The rendering of First Floor College Conference Room from the northeast view
The rendering of Admissions Area, Reception Room
The rendering of First Floor Hallway North from the Stair Tower view

Future MVR Hall renderings (above) were created by D+EA students Joanna Luh, Hyerin Lee and Yun Mi Koh.

Joanna Luh is a Junior in the College of Human Ecology studying Design + Environmental Analysis. She thinks of design as a medium for improving people's lives and is interested in discovering how to extend this medium to people and places where there is room for improvement in living quality. She is hoping to specialize in healthcare design and strategy in the future. When she isn't creating in studio, she finds passion in figure skating and making music.

Hyerin Lee is a senior in the college of Human Ecology studying Design + Environmental Analysis with the focus on Interior Design and Design Strategy. Believing that designs can do more than just please the eyes, she aims to create human-centered, space-efficient and cost-efficient design solutions to make the everyday experience more rich and vibrant.

Yun Mi Koh is a senior in the College of Human Ecology studying Design + Environmental Analysis, focusing on Design Strategy and Human Factor Design with a minor in User Experience. She believes that emotional and psychological cognition is a powerful tool for design and believes that design and psychology can come together to create a design that is not just aesthetic but also echoes within each individual. She is currently undertaking projects on human cognition in virtual reality experiences+ environments. When she is not in a class, she is on her sketchbook doodling or in studio dancing. 

Renovation promotes sustainability

This MVR Hall renovation project is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold status or better, which is what has been achieved in all previous phases of MVR renovations.

In this current phase of renovation, the College is reclaiming, upcycling and recycling a significant amount of legacy materials and pieces from the original MVR, and new innovations are cutting down on construction waste remarkably. 

Total tonnage removed via demolition and abatement: 1,293.02 

  • 1,100 tons recycled/diverted
  • 95 tons of landfill

Total tonnage of recycle/reuse during surge of faculty/staff: 13.05 

  • eWaste – electronic recycling = 5,900 pounds (2.95 tons)
  • Shredding – paper recycling = 13,300 pounds (6.65 tons)
  • Books – recycled/reused = 6,900 pounds (3.45 tons)


First-of-its-kind Warehouse ReUse Event

What do you do with a warehouse full of desks, chairs, filing cabinets and other office furniture that you no longer need? If you are College of Human Ecology Facilities and Operations Director Kristine Mahoney, you hold a Warehouse ReUse event to give it away to community members who can put it to use. Warehouse ReUse event story!

Classic Furniture Reclamation Project

As part of the renovation and surge processes over the last few years, the College has reviewed its entire inventory of furniture. Over 60% of the furniture purchased in previous renovation phases has been reused existing inventory. Recently, over 5,000 sq. ft. of furniture has been repurposed and reused.

In addition to the reuse and repurposing of much of the inventory, the College is gathering a great number of excellent examples of classic design pieces from earlier years of the College (chairs, desks, tables by Eames, Emeco, Bertoia, Knoll, Vecta, Chadwick.) A number of offices in the College had been originally furnished with pieces that have now become classics over the subsequent decades.

The refurbished pieces will be placed in use throughout the buildings in conference rooms and other areas that will allow for both broader visibility and use by our community and easier access by our design courses that use them for instructional reference. Any offices that have had classic pieces removed have had access to our existing inventory to choose replacements. Once we complete this process, we will document our inventory and make the information available on our website for additional reference.

This process is great way for the College to reuse furniture, conserve resources and celebrate our history. If you have any questions or would like a piece of furniture reviewed for inclusion, please contact facilities (