Posts tagged with "Cooper Union":

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AN remembers Diane Lewis

To walk the streets of a city with Diane meant to be move slowly and with focus, and to often come to a complete standstill when the discussion at hand was primary over all else. This immersion was in striking contrast to her gait and quickness in the halls of Cooper Union and her brisk efficiency in the orchestration of a construction site. She lived in accord with the tenets of her practice and her teaching, and her intellectual rigor and intensity were applied to all endeavors. She believed deeply in the necessary confrontation of the existing with the ideal. The rub of dueling conditions as the source of artistic inspiration was a concept for Diane that spanned from Dante’s Divine Comedy (the introduction to our course at Pratt) to how she engaged the eccentricities of building within a given condition. To work alongside Diane on the job site was a demonstration of architecture as both an art in form and a theater piece with a unique casting call and stage directions in a whirlwind toward exquisite results. In the center was Diane, always a cutting sight in her effortless, yet careful wardrobe and its accents; the most important were her eyeglasses. She had wanted glasses since an early age and was thrilled when they became a necessity.

Diane’s ability to enjoy life was to make the best possible conditions for living, eating, thinking—whatever happened to be the pursuit of the moment. She had a gusto for food and ate with the same enjoyment and abandon as when she watered the garden at one of her many 9th street studio locations, a bit messy but with pure joy, flinging water so that it hit not only the plants but also the table she designed and the chairs and cushions. She was a talented cook and brought recipes from all over the world back to the studio, where she would regret that we did not have a dedicated chef on staff as Scarpa had when she visited his Venetian studio in the ’70s. Decades later when we visited Venice she insisted the first act must be to go immediately to Harry’s Bar, which was filled with Carnival revelers.

Wherever Diane lived it was always in a work of architecture, whether by her own hand or by selection. She would spend the summers in Long Island renting the guesthouse from Charles Gwathmey’s mother, and she lived for many years on a floor in William Lescaze’s townhouse on 48th street, where she was later married. In a metropolitan style, she had simply stopped by and made an inquiry to his widow if there were rooms for rent; Diane later designed an addition to her D.C. residence. Diane would note that she saw the principals of Hejduk’s Wall House in the Lescaze townhouse. Her intrinsic ability to see the lineages of work and continuity of thought allowed her to absorb, project, and hypothesize. She created a literary a-chronological world of architecture that is both deeply engaging and spectacularly liberating.

As a professor she preserved the sanctity and dignity of the students and adhered to the highest aspirations of academic sovereignty. She treated us with respect and demanded a critical forum for the discussion of work, investing in each student close readings as well as the independence to shape our studio projects. Under her teaching team, our class, and many others, created spectacular work from both expected and unexpected sources. Her gravitational field pulled people from near and afar: My friend and classmate Jack immediately applied to Cooper after having Diane during her tenure in the Hyde Chair at the University of Nebraska. Diane herself applied to Cooper as an art student at the recommendation of George Segal, whom she met in Syracuse in a high school summer program. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ Everson Museum of Art was in construction nearby; they would be second firm she would work for after initiating her professional career in the office of Richard Meier.

Most striking about Diane was her precise language, her careful articulation and her prescience to the gulf between thought and speech. Her unrelenting attention to meaning and complete absorption in structure were a means to penetrate through the contrived and conventional. Diane demanded that we engage the world not as it is, but as it should be. She entitled an unfinished book, Mind Over Matter.

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New York architect and professor Diane Lewis passes away

[UPDATE 5/5/2107, 5:40 pm EST] A mid-June memorial is being planned to celebrate Diane Lewis's life in architecture, art, and literature. Additional details will be released at www.dianelewisarchitect.com as plans are finalized. [UPDATE 5/2/2107, 12:25 pm EST] This article has been updated to include a statement from Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union. Diane Lewis, recipient of the 1976 Rome Architecture Prize in Architecture and the 2008 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, passed away this morning. She was a prominent figure in the contemporary New York architecture scene and distinguished tenured professor at the Cooper Union. Lewis founded her eponymous firm in her native New York City in 1983 after working in the offices of Richard Meier, I.M. Pei and Partners, and Jim Freed, leading projects such as the Jacob Javits Convention Center, MIT Center for Arts and Media, and 499 Park Avenue. Her firm’s projects include the 2006 residence for the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, the Perlman Conservatory and campus for Paul Rudolph’s Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida, the Gauchos Basketball Foundation in Harlem, New York, and the HCK Charter School in San Antonio, Texas, as well as art galleries such as Kent Fine Art, Paul Kasmin, Claude Bernard, American Fine Art, and SPOT. She received a Knoll International Modern Main Street award in conjunction with World Monuments fund for the master plan for Riverview High School. In 1982 she was the first woman architect appointed to the full-time faculty at the Cooper Union and also served on many university faculties including Yale, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Technical University of Berlin, the Architectural Association in London, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She co-edited the Education of an Architect, a book on the work of Cooper Union from 1975 to 1982; in 1989 she received a Graham Foundation grant for her lectures and essays on architecture and surrealism. She was also the task force director of the Urban Institute at the Cooper Union. In addition to this, Lewis also taught at the Pratt Institute in New York. There she taught undergraduate architecture students, working as a visiting professor. After 25 years of independent architecture practice, a monograph was published of her work, entitled DIANE LEWIS: INSIDE-OUT: Architecture New York City in 2007. Her drawings of plans for the Astor Place parking site and others can be found in the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, released the following statement early this afternoon:
Diane H. Lewis, 2017 It is with profound grief and a heavy heart that I share this communication with my students, colleagues, and alumni of The Cooper Union. Today, we lost one of the most beloved and influential voices of our community, architect and professor Diane H. Lewis. Diane Lewis came to The Cooper Union as a student in the Art School in 1968, transferring to Architecture in 1970, and completing her studies in 1976. Immediately upon graduation, she was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture, making her one of the youngest members to be honored by the American Academy in Rome. Upon her return to the United States, Lewis joined the offices of Richard Meier and Partners and later, I. M. Pei and Partners where she received her early training—this, while also launching her teaching career. Initially a professor at the University of Virginia, Lewis went on to teach as a visitor in many respected programs including Yale University, the Technical University of Berlin, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the University of Toronto, where she held the Frank Gehry Visiting Chair in 2006. But it was here at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture that she planted her foundations as a radical and committed educator; Lewis was the first woman architect to be appointed to the full-time faculty, and later tenured in 1993. In an age when few dedicate themselves to teaching as a craft, her focus on creating a transformative space of learning will be a central part of her lasting legacy. Indeed, as much as Lewis was a product of Cooper Union, today we can look back at more than thirty years of her contributions and come to realize that we are, in fact, defined by the culture of her teaching. As a practicing architect, Lewis set up her own office in 1983 under the banner of Diane Lewis Architects PC, and she has since led a focused and critical practice concentrating on competitions, urbanism, and built projects known for their exquisite refinement in both plan and detailing. Of those projects, the Studiolo for Colomina and Wigley, the Mews project for Professor Dworkin, and the Kent Gallery all demonstrate the nuance and skill that Lewis brought to her sense of materiality, figuration, and occasion. With a protean intellectual profile, Lewis’s work spoke to the panoramic range she held within her scope; a writer, designer, film-maker, and urbanist, Lewis brought passion to her many activities, often synthesizing her investigations into the many publications she edited and authored. Her most recent book, including the work of several generations of students, Open City: Existential Urbanity is one such example, featuring not only her written work, but also her research on Neo-realist cinema, the role of the civic institution on the making of urbanity, and even book design as a central part of its argument. The practice of Diane Lewis served as a conduit for her inter-disciplinary interests, and she seamlessly navigated between professional practice, scholarly work, and her teaching projects as part of a larger commitment to the discipline. Naturally, as co-editor of the Education of an Architect, Lewis shared a vision about how the commitment to teaching was also part of a social contract to give back to society in productive ways. Exhibited widely, including at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Van Alen Institute, and the Galerie Aedes in Berlin, Lewis also gained many accolades such as the John Q. Hejduk Award and nominations for the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt and the Daimler Chrysler Award. Diane Lewis was widely recognized as a consummate architect and professor. Loved by students, respected by professional colleagues and debated by academic peers, Lewis defined architecture with equal parts passion and erudition. In recent years, her Design IV urbanism studio was known for its often twelve-hour long final reviews—each one of them a marathon discussion of critical precision and clarified architectural thought. On a more intimate note, I can only say that I will personally miss Diane dearly, most especially the tenacity with which she engaged in fierce architectural debate. Diane’s persevering intellect and commitment to leadership were so ever-present in the School, I can only imagine that both John Hejduk and Anthony Vidler felt her almighty strength in the administration of the school. She led the school symbolically, and when things did not go her way, she led a parallel school of thought alongside the very deans that gave rise to her platform. Her agency represents the very ethos of the key protagonists that a school would want inside its walls. She had a voice, she used it, and she led with it. In the past days and weeks, I have been touched by the many students, alumni, and academic associates who have reached out to me inquiring about her well-being. Diane was loved by many and respected by all. She was fiercely loyal to her students, and she made no secret of her advocacy of the many friends she held dear in both personal and intellectual complicity. To that end, I can only see that this loss is shared far and wide by many. As the Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, I have the honor of bringing words to the collective sentiments that I believe everyone has voiced to me, and yet, I know that these words do not suffice in face of a deep, collective grief. The presence of our beloved family and friends is real and profound, but in their absence, we also discover that their every lesson, their words of wisdom, humor, and sensibility is something that takes on even more vivid presence precisely because they are no longer here in body. Diane may have left us in person, but her presence will be very much part of the education of many architects to come, and she will continue to speak with strength and clarity in the halls of this institution. As we miss her deeply, we will also have the benefit of her ongoing guidance, the fulfillment of over thirty years of generous giving.
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John Hejduk’s work portrayed in new light at Cooper Union exhibition

John Hejduk will be portrayed in a new light at The Cooper Union later this month where seven works from the architect will be on display, both inside and out.
"Hejduk was often criticized for work lacking social or political relevance," James Williamson, Dean and Professor Office of the Dean College of Architecture Texas Tech University told The Architect's Newspaper (AN).  "These objects reveal how misconceived such a judgment was," he added, referring to Hejduk's Jan Palach Memorial which will be on display.
Born in New York to Czech parents, Hejduk (1929–2000) was the founding dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, a post he held for 25 years. He is highly regarded for his contribution to the discipline in terms of both pedagogy and design and the upcoming exhibition strives to reflect the dual elements of his practice. Forty-three photographs by Hélène Binet, Hejduk’s photographer of record, can be seen inside The Cooper Union, and Hejduk's Jan Palach Memorial will be exhibited outside as part of the New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Art Program in nearby Cooper Square Park. The Jan Palach Memorial, one of Hejduk's most provocative sociopolitical works, comprises two structures: House of the Suicide and House of the Mother of the Suicide, both of which include 49 spikes erected onto timber cuboids. The pieces memorialize Jan Palach, a Czech dissident who set himself on fire in 1968 to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Today, the political overtones of the work are poignant. "Given what is going on right now, both in this country and globally, it's even more relevant," said Steven Hillyer, director the architecture school's archive. The outdoor installation is a fitting precursor to Binet's photographic work inside: "You can never compete with a physical experience of a building," she said. "I show details so the audience can dream about the rest and relate to the human-scale objects. Let's dream about [Hejduk's] dream, rather than feeding the audience objects." Binet prefers black-and-white film for the limitations the analog format provides, parameters that, she says, pushes her creatively. Works featured range in scale and include The Collapse of Time, the Berlin Tower, and the Wall House II in Groningen, the Netherlands. Binet explained how her photographic work progressed while she worked with Hejduk. She cited his method of "teaching through osmosis," the "social contract" Hejduk established with his students. She worked with Hillyer to reflect this pedagogical approach, too. Nader Tehrani, incumbent dean at the school of architecture, expanded on the influence of Hejduk's teaching style. "On the one hand, he brought disciplinary projects to the table that had deep histories, and on the other, he brought individuated attention to students’ independent platforms of thinking, such that he could leave latitude for creative and intellectual development outside of his own ideological predispositions," he said. "The small scale of Cooper Union enabled him to bring forth a more ‘precise’ culture, where craft, making, and representational tools were diversified, and where their instrumentality was put to focus. It is hard to imagine an intellectual figure who has had the ability to produce so many other critical voices: teacher, practitioners, deans, and activists, the very many who now occupy key positions at other reputed institutions." The exhibition will be on view March 29 through April 29, 2017 in the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery at Cooper Union. Visitors will have more time to take in the Jan Palach Memorial, which will be displayed until June 11. "We are hoping," said Hillyer, "that this will be the first of many installations realized by the school."
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The Cooper Union hosts the first ever American exhibition of the Spanish Biennial of Architecture

The Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU) has travelled to the U.S. for the first time in its history. Now in its thirteenth edition, the BEAU, this year titled Alternativas/Alternatives, is currently on show at the Cooper Union in New York after being exhibited in the Alhambra, in southern Spain.  Alternativas/Alternatives features 22 jury-selected projects–from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2015–all chosen from contemporary Spanish practices and falling under themes of heritage, planning, and innovation. In the wake of the Spanish Pavilion winning the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Biennale (the biennale's highest honor), 70 percent of the work showcased in Italy is now exhibited at the XIII BEAU. Projects range in scale from low-key dwellings to cliff-side-spanning landscape interventions. Together, the works aim to demonstrate the innovative techniques architects have employed when dealing with the aspects of heritage and planning while constrained by budget and materials by Spain's geography and economy. “We were concerned about the difficult past for architecture in terms of the economic, social, and political situation in the country," said Begoña Díaz-Urgorri, BEAU co-director, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN).  "We wanted to connect the audience to Spanish architecture and help them understand how it is developing," continued Díaz-Urgorri. “The exhibition is called 'Alternatives' to reflect what other alternatives that were found during this two-year period, not always through forms but through the processes that architects used. We were not so much concerned about the aspect of construction, rather, the development of the architect over these two years.” To achieve this "connection," the exhibition at Cooper Union offers a unique way of letting the audience engage with the projects on display. 3-D printed models of the 22 jury-selected works are laid out across a group of tables alongside two television screens and barcode scanners. Here, visitors are encouraged to pick up the off-white maquettes and find the barcodes underneath. In a shopping mall-like experience, when scanned, the barcode reader bleeps and up pops information, drawings, and photography of the building onto the corresponding wall-mounted monitor. Projects are color coded according to the three themes of the Biennial; slides on the screens are kept simple, readable, and generally accessible to most audiences. Further information on the projects is also available within the Biennial's main attraction: A sloping semi-circle platform surrounded by three large projection screens that show more photography of the projects. Also located on the platform, numerous eye-level television screens display critics, architects, and members of the public talking about the building/intervention shown on the nearby projection. Nader Tehrani, dean of the Cooper Union's Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, also spoke to AN. He described the work on display, saying "some of the projects are planned with a resilient approach to building typologies, understanding that those buildings may have to take on varied programs, functions, and activities in the future." The Iranian-American designer who also founded NADAAA in 2011 also commented on the three themes prevalent within the exhibition. “Any intervention into heritage involves a broader dialogue with history, but often from different mentalities." Tehrani also outlined the "three different modalities" taken on in the approaches demonstrated at the Biennal:
  • Through preservation, to not only restore buildings to their original stature, but to also revive certain crafts and construction techniques that would otherwise become obsolete
  • Through renovation, upgrading buildings to take on the responsibilities of  new codes, life safety systems and other such requirements; while some of them do so in a stealth way, others expose and contrast the new systems in relation to the original spaces, but in each case, there is a deep sense of acknowledgment about the role of the surgical operation.
  • Through intervention, building up a richer dialogue between the original space and the new: drawing out potentials, functions and responsibilities of contemporary priorities.
Alternativas/Alternatives is free and open to the public and runs through December 3 this year.
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Breaking> Nader Tehrani named dean of Cooper Union School of Architecture

New York City's Cooper Union finally found a new leader. Nader Tehrani has been appointed dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. He joins the school this month, taking over where Anthony Vidler left off. Tehrani, formerly of Office dA, is now principal of NADAAA. Tehrani is also a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and served as head of MIT’s Department of Architecture from 2010 to 2014. For over 25 years, Tehrani has developed research around material culture as the basis for speculation—exploring material properties, negotiating materials and their geometric predispositions and challenging the means and methods of building processes. “Nader Tehrani is in tune with the traditions of the Irwin S. Chanin School in terms of our emphasis on exploration and the processes that are at the core of the creation and production of architectural form,” said School of Architecture Professor Diana Agrest, who chaired the dean search committee. “He brings fresh perspectives on architectural discourse that will open new avenues in our teaching and will help create new energy in the school.” At Office dA, Tehrani has been recognized with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture (2007). More recently, Tehrani completed three schools of architecture, including the Hinman Research Building at Georgia Tech and the Faculty of Architecture, Building, & Planning at the University of Melbourne. He is currently working on the completion of the new John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, & Design facility at the University of Toronto. Tehrani received a B.F.A. and a B.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He continued his studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where he attended the post-graduate program in history and theory. Upon his return to the United States, Tehrani received the Masters of Architecture and Urban Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1991.
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HUD Secretary Julian Castro to headline IDEAS CITY 2015 in New York City

Julian Castro, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the third annual IDEAS CITY festival in New York.  IDEAS CITY is a biennial street fair that “explores the future of cities with culture as a driving force.” It will launch its third annual rendition on May 28th–30th on the Bowery. Castro will address this year’s theme of “The Invisible City,” highlighting the parts of the city that go unseen, or the forces that are driving change that are not always easy to map. Castro was appointed Secretary of HUD in July, after gaining notoriety as not only an up-and-coming Democratic mayor of San Antonio, who has been mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate in the 2016 race, but also as a strong advocate and innovator in urban policy with a design slant. From the IDEAS CITY website:

As three-term mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro was known for innovative governance. His “Decade of Downtown” program campaigned for new investments in San Antonio’s city center and older communities and brought in $350 million of private sector money, generating more than 2,400 housing units. In 2010, Castro was enrolled in the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders and named by Time magazine as one of its “40 under 40” list of notable leaders in American politics. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he became the first Latino to deliver a keynote. Castro took office as the sixteenth Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014.

This year’s festival promises to be an energetic follow-up to the previous years under the direction of Joseph Grima, who has been involved in no less than three Biennials in the last year, including Chicago’s Architecture Biennial and Biennale Interieur in Belgium. IDEAS CITY is also a partnership of The New Museum (Founder), The Architectural League of New York, Bowery Poetry Club, The Cooper Union, Storefront for Art & Architecture, The Drawing Center. Some of the other events that stand out are: —IDEAS CITY Street ProgramInstitute for Public Architecture: Total ResetKurt Andersen, Carmen Yulín Cruz, and others: MAYORAL CONVERSATION: Finding The Invisible CityRhizome: AIRBNB Pavilion: Stay With MeKim Stanley Robinson, Bjarke Ingels: Make No Little Plans: A CONVERSATION IN TWO PARTS:Part 1. Toward A Plausible UtopiaMunicipal Art Society, Architizer: Pitching the CityManny Cantor Center, Laura Nova: Moving Stories
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Lawsuit Filed to Block Cooper Union Tuition

A group of Cooper Union professors, alumni, and students has filed a lawsuit against the school’s Board of Trustees over its decision last spring to start charging undergraduate tuition at the school. At the time, the board said the cash-strapped institution had no choice but to break their long-held tradition of offering free arts and architecture education. They announced that the change would go into effect this coming fall, and that tuition would be set on a sliding scale. The group who filed the suit—the Committee to Save Cooper Union—is attempting to block this change before new students arrive this fall. The committee is also calling for an audit into the school’s finances, which they allege have been grossly mismanaged. According to the New York Daily News, "the scathing Manhattan Supreme Court documents accuse the school’s leaders of spending on fancy new buildings, borrowing more money than the school could afford and losing tens of millions by investing in a trustee’s own hedge fund." One of those "fancy new buildings" is the school’s gleaming, 175,000-square-foot structure designed by Morphosis that opened five years ago. A spokesperson for Cooper Union said, in part, "we are disappointed that the Committee to Save Cooper Union would choose costly litigation over constructive conversation."
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Revolving Dean Door: Schools Coast to Coast In Search of New Leadership

There is a rumor making its way around the West Coast that Thom Mayne may have more than a new building in New York. He may be headed east to become dean of Columbia University, replacing the departing Mark Wigley. But we have also heard—despite his protests that he is happy sailing to Catalina—that Greg Lynn may also be interested in the Morningside Heights position. It could be that Lynn would join his wife, Sylvia Lavin, who has long coveted an East Coast deanship. How about if Mark Wigley and MoMA’s departing Barry Bergdoll simply swap positions? There seem to be no end to the rumors of who may be filling one of the vacant deans posts at Cooper Union, Columbia, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Cranbrook, or the University of Kentucky. We hear that Cooper Union is assembling names and has created a short list (who would want that job now?) that includes the names of several current deans as well as alumnus Daniel Libeskind and philosopher poet Peter Lynch. Then what will happen in the next two years when deanships become available at Penn Design, Yale, and Sci-Arc? Now that Aaron Betsky has left parochial Cincinnati he may be looking for a more hospitable place to work.
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Free Again?

Students have ended a week-long protest at Cooper Union. (Courtesy Free Cooper Union / Facebook) Cooper Union students’ 65-day occupation of the President’s office has come to an end. The board of trustees, administration, and student occupiers announced this month that the school will now reconsider its controversial decision to end its tradition of free tuition. A new proposal establishes a “Working Group”—consisting of a selection of trustees, faculty members, students, alumni, and administrators—to examine the school’s finances and come up with a strategy to reinstate its full-tuition scholarship for students. The Working Group will provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees by December 1, 2013. (Photo: Courtesy Free Cooper Union / Facebook)
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Letter to the Editor> Cooper Union’s President Emeritus Responds

[ Editor's Note: The following comment appeared on AN's website in response to the editorial, “Cooper Union’s Tragic Compromises,” which cited a report in the New York Times, titled “How Errors in Investing Cost a College Its Legacy.” The selection ran as a letter to the editor that ran in print edition, AN08_06.05.2013. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The article on Cooper Union, “How Errors in Investing Cost a College Its Legacy,” like many others in response to the college’s decision to charge tuition, discusses selected aspects of its financial history, leaves out crucial elements, and offers misleading and outright incorrect details. Left out of the sweeping generalization—“decades of bad decisions”—is that the college experienced a remarkable period of recovery from near bankruptcy in 2001–02, when the annual operating deficit had been more than $10 million for more than a decade, the cash reserves were months from being depleted, and the endowment dipped below $100 million. By 2008, the operating budget returned a surplus, according to the Times article, the endowment had climbed to $710 million, and the $250 million, 12-year capital campaign launched in 2002 had produced more than $20 million per year. Beyond the restructured Chrysler Building lease that will bring a total of $32.5 million in annual revenues plus an estimated $20 million in tax equivalency payments, there were a number of other successful real estate transactions during this period. It is often stated that the college borrowed $175 million to build a new academic building. This is a gross misrepresentation of a complex transaction that consolidated the institution’s existing debt, permitted the college to add $34 million to its investment portfolio, and, most importantly, enabled the development of 51 Astor Place (the old engineering building) that returned $100 million to the endowment in 2008. In addition, the latter, together with the 26 Astor Place transaction, assuming a reasonable investment return together with rents or tax equivalency payments on those properties, yield annual revenues that more than cover the debt service on the loan. These were, in fact, very sophisticated deals that brought a net positive financial return to the college while yielding a state of the art building without which the college could not have sustained a first rate engineering school. These transactions are clearly not a source of the college’s current financial woes. Operating a free university, offering degrees in critical, technology intensive disciplines, has always been an enormously challenging proposition financially, and Cooper Union has been close to giving up this aspect of its mission many times before. While I do not know enough about the current financials to comment on the decision to charge tuition, I have to believe there are other choices that could be made. George Campbell Jr., Ph.D. President Emeritus The Cooper Union
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Free No More: Cooper Union Trustees Choose Tuition

After nearly two years of intense debate and student protests, Cooper Union has announced that it will end its 155-year tradition of tuition-free education—a hallmark of the prestigious institution. The school’s board of trustees said in a statement that budget-cutting measures could not relieve the $12 million annual deficit it has on its hands. The new policy will cut the full tuition-free scholarship to 50 percent for the undergraduate class beginning in fall 2014. Depending on financial need, a student could pay nothing or up to $20,000. Industrialist Peter Cooper founded the school in 1859 on the premise of providing a first-rate, free education to the working classes.
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On View> Cooper Union Exhibition Explores Environmental Design in Modernism

Lessons From Modernism is the smartest and most compelling exhibition ever mounted in New York (and maybe anywhere) on the influence of nature and the environment in architectural design. This Cooper Union exhibition looks at and analyzes 25 iconic modern buildings from architects like Le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph, Jean Prouvé, and Oscar Niemeyer. Conceived and curated by Cooper Union Professor Kevin Bone, Lessons From Modernism brilliantly demonstrates how these and other important modern architects integrated environmental concerns into their designs and "explores the extent to which these practices have produced environmentally performative and distinctive architecture." Staged in a school known for its formal architectural inventions it makes the case that environmental design has long been a a foregrounded consideration in the creation of architecture and not something created by by the United States Building Council and its LEED certification process. Professor Bone has created a valuable time line of major landmarks in the environmental design movement and directed his students to produce precise and beautiful models of these 25 buildings. The exhibition includes analytical drawings illustrating the sustainable design issues within each project in the show and includes texts by Professor Bone, Kenneth Frampton, Lydia Kallipoliti, and Carl Stein. The show runs through March 23 so run to see it before it vanishes.