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Cooper Union presents new building designs.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art announced an exhibition and design preview of its new academic building.

In December 2003, the college chose Thorn Mayne and the firm Morphosis after a rigorous selection process led by an Architect Selection Committee that screened 150 nominees.

The new academic building will create an interdisciplinary environment for its students that will inspire learning and engender creativity.

By adding pedagogical innovations and expanding the use of engineering technologies, the new facility will reinforce the college's commitment to academic excellence and its historic contribution to the quality of life and urban infrastructure of New York.

Cooper Union president George Campbell Jr. said, "We selected Thorn Mayne of Morphosis to design our new academic building based on his creative approach to architectural design, his effective, innovative use of technology to achieve sustainable features and his ability to connect with Cooper Union's mission and goals.

The pre-schematic presentation will confirm that Mayne's unique architectural vision responds not only to The Cooper Union's mission but to the fabric of the surrounding neighborhoods of the East Village."

"Mayne's design, conceived with the belief that space can inspire learning, embodies Cooper Union's intention to create an academic building that will have the same impact that the Foundation Building had on higher education in 1859 and that our Chrysler Building had on New York architecture in the 1930s," concluded Dr. Campbell.

Designed largely to house Cooper Union's Albeit Nerken School of Engineering--ranked among the top three undergraduate engineering schools in the nation--the building will also provide institutional space for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and the School of Art.

The structure will function as both a space for study and a learning laboratory. To the extent practical, the mechanical, structural, telecommunications and environmental technologies will be accessible for study by students and faculty.

The pre-schematic design, created over a period of six months by Morphosis, with associate architects Gruzen Samton in New York, is on view at The Cooper Union's Arthur A. Houghton Gallery, located in the college's Foundation Building at Third Avenue and East 7th Street.

The exhibition will include a large-scale model of the building, architectural renderings, photographs and wall texts. The exhibition will remain open through October 23.

Construction of the nine story full-block facility, located on the east side of Third Avenue, between 6th and 7th Street, is expected to begin in early 2006, with an approximate duration of 20 months.

"Because teaching has become more interdisciplinary, and because new thinking and new discoveries are constantly reshaping our knowledge, it is crucial for The Cooper Union to have a flexible, open and interactive academic building," states Thorn Mayne.

"We literally designed out from that core, always keeping in mind that a building for The Cooper Union should be as strong and innovative as the institution itself."

Dr. Campbell noted that the new academic building is the linchpin of Cooper Union's plan to secure the college's academic leadership and it's tradition of granting full-tuition scholarships to all undergraduate students.

To ensure long-term revenue streams for the college, Cooper Union also has leased an underdeveloped site at Astor Place between Lafayette Street and 4th Avenue to the Related Companies, which is building a residential structure designed by world-renowned architect Charles Gwathmey.

Once the academic building is completed and occupied, the current engineering school building at 51 Astor Place will be taken down and the property leased for development of a mixed-use commercial and academic structure.

Key to the plan is a $250 million Capital Campaign, now in its nucleus phase, which will fund the new building in addition to supporting operations and expanding the endowment.

The Morphosis design conceives of the new facility as a "vertical campus," organized around a central atrium that rises to the full height of the building. This open connective space, spanned at various levels by sky bridges, ensures interaction throughout the building while opening up view corridors towards the east Village and across Third Avenue to the Foundation Building.

The atrium also contributes to the building's high degree of physical and visual permeability, which integrates it into the college's neighborhood.

The Cooper Union's project team for the new academic building is composed of Morphosis Architects and their associate architect Gruzen Samton LLP, the Construction Manager F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. and Horne Rose, engaged by Cooper Union as its Owner's Representative.

Horne Rose is part of Jonathan Rose Companies.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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