41 Cooper Square by Morphosis

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Architectural photographer Roland Halbe has sent us his photographs of the recently-completed academic building for The Cooper Union in New York, designed by Thom Mayne of American practice Morphosis.

Located at 41 Cooper Square, the building houses the college's three schools teaching art, architecture and engineering.

The building is wrapped in a perforated stainless steel skin.

A six metre-wide staircase spirals around the central atrium, intended to provide meeting places and encourage dialogue between disciplines.

The main elevators stop only at the first, fifth and eighth floors to increase students' physical activity.

Here's some more information from the architects:

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41 COOPER SQUARE
Architect’s Statement
Thom Mayne of Morphosis

41 Cooper Square, the new academic building for The Cooper Union, aspires to manifest the character, culture and vibrancy of both the 150 year-old institution and of the city in which it was founded. The institution remains committed to Peter Cooper’s radically optimistic intention to provide an education “as free as water and air” and has subsequently grown to become a renowned intellectual and cultural center for the City of New York. 41 Cooper Square aspires to reflect the institution’s stated goal to create an iconic building – one that reflects its values and aspirations as a center for advanced and innovative education in Art, Architecture and Engineering.

Internally, the building is conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building. This vertical piazza is the social heart of the building, providing a place for impromptu and planned meetings, student gatherings, lectures, and for the intellectual debate that defines the academic environment.

From the double-high entry lobby, the grand stair ascends four stories to terminate in a glazed double-high student lounge overlooking the city. On the fifth through ninth floors, sky lobbies and meeting places—including a student lounge, seminar rooms, lockers, and seating areas overlooking the cityscape—are organized around the central atrium. Sky bridges span the atrium to create connections between these informal spaces. Further reinforcement of the strategy to create a vibrant intellectual space is provided by the “skip-stop” circulation strategy which allows for both increased physical activity and for more impromptu meeting opportunities. The primary skip-stop elevators, which make stops at the first, fifth and eighth floors, encourage occupants to use the grand stairs and sky bridges. Secondary elevators stop at each floor, both for ADA compliance and for the practical tasks of moving materials, artworks, and equipment.

In the spirit of the institution’s dedication to free, open and accessible education, the building itself is symbolically open to the city. Visual transparencies and accessible public spaces connect the institution to the physical, social and cultural fabric of its urban context. At street level, the transparent facade invites the neighborhood to observe and to take part in the intensity of activity contained within. Many of the public functions - an exhibition gallery, board room and a two-hundred-seat auditorium - are easily accessible one level below grade.

The building reverberates with light, shadow and transparency via a high performance exterior double skin whose semi-transparent layer of perforated stainless steel wraps the building’s glazed envelope to provide critical interior environmental control, while also allowing for transparencies to reveal the creative activity occurring within. Responding to its urban context, the sculpted facade establishes a distinctive identity for Cooper Square. The building’s corner entry lifts up to draw people into the lobby in a deferential gesture towards the institution’s historic Foundation Building. The façade registers the iconic, curving profile of the central atrium as a glazed figure that appears to be carved out of the Third Avenue façade, connecting the creative and social heart of the building to the street.

Built to LEED Gold standards and likely to achieve a Platinum rating, 41 Cooper Square will be the first LEED-certified academic laboratory building in New York City. Advanced green building initiatives include:

An operable building skin made of perforated stainless steel panels offset from a glass and aluminum window wall. The panels reduce the impact of heat radiation during the summer and insulate interior spaces during the winter.

Radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels introduce innovative HVAC technology that will boost energy efficiency. This contributes to making the new building 40 percent more energy efficient than a standard building of its type.

A full-height atrium enables unique circulation for building occupants, improves the flow of air and provides increased interior day lighting.

Seventy-five percent of the building’s regularly occupied spaces are lit by natural daylight.

A green roof insulates the building, reduces city “heat island” effect, storm water runoff and pollutants; harvested water is reused.

A cogeneration plant provides additional power to the building, recovers waste heat and effectively cuts energy costs.

Flexible state-of-the-art laboratories, studios and classrooms are specifically designed to accommodate pedagogical objectives, as well as current and future research activities.

This aggregation of progressive green building initiatives combines with the building’s social spaces and urban connectivity to support Cooper Union in advancing its legacy of innovative ideas, cross-disciplinary knowledge, and creative practices well into the future.

41 Cooper Square Fact Sheet
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

The Project

The Cooper Union’ s new building at 41 Cooper Square—a technologically advanced academic facility—is located on the east side of Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets. In September 2009, 41 Cooper Square will house the college’s Albert Nerken School of Engineering and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences along with additional facilities for the School of Art and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the nine-story, 175,000 square foot, full-block building will replace more than 40 percent of the academic space at the college with reconfigurable, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, studios and public spaces. Built with stringent sustainability goals, it is likely to achieve LEED platinum. 41 Cooper Square will be the first LEED certified academic laboratory building in New York City.

Building Facts

Construction start: November 13, 2006
Ribbon Cutting: September 15, 2009
Total space: 175,000 gross sq. ft., (nine stories plus two below grade; height: 135 ft.)
Laboratories: 39,000 sq. ft.
Studios: 10,000 sq. ft.
Classrooms: 15,400 sq. ft.
Student space: 5,080 sq. ft.
Public spaces (Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, Menschel Board Room, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Exhibition Foyer and Gallery): 8,800 sq. ft.

Outstanding Green Features

41 Cooper Square will be 40 percent more energy efficient than a standard building of its type due to exceptional use of green technologies:

Radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels introduce innovative HVAC technology to the United States that have proved to boost energy efficiency.

An operable building skin made of perforated stainless steel panels offset from a glass and aluminum window wall reduces the impact of heat radiation during the summer and insulates interior spaces during the winter.

A full-height atrium enables unique circulation for building occupants, improves the flow of air and provides increased interior day lighting.

A green roof insulates the building, reduces city “heat island” effect, stormwater runoff and pollutants; harvested water is reused.

A cogeneration plant provides additional power to the building, recovers waste heat and effectively cuts energy costs.

Flexible state-of-the-art laboratories, studios and classrooms are specifically designed with renewable, recycled and low emission materials that will accommodate pedagogical objectives, as well as current and future research activities.

Building Team

The Cooper Union’s building team is comprised of Thom Mayne/Morphosis with Gruzen Samton LLP architects; Jonathan Rose Companies, the owner’s representative; and F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.

Project Credits

41 Cooper Square
New York, NY
2004-2009

Client: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Architect: Morphosis
Thom Mayne, Principal / Design Director
Silvia Kuhle, Project Manager
Pavel Getov, Project Architect
Jean Oei, Job Captain/ Project Designer
Project Designers: Chandler Ahrens, Natalia Traverso Caruana, Go-Woon Seo
Project Team: Irena Bedenikovic, Salvador Hidalgo, Debbie Lin, Kristina Loock,
IT Co-ordinator: Marty Doscher
Project Assistants: Ben Damron, Graham Ferrier
Model Team: Reinhard Schmoelzer with Patrick Dunn-Baker, Charles Austin, Sean Anderson, Domenique Cheng, Soohyun Cheng, Eui Yeob Jeong, Amy Kwok, Shannon Loew, Brock Hinze, Hugo Martinez, Greg Neudorf

Associate Architect: Gruzen Samton, LLP
Peter Samton, Principal
Susan Drew, Project Manager
Project Team: Cathy Daskalakis, Joanne Fernando, Sari Mass, Ed Mayer, Mani Muttreja, Alfreda Radzicki, Stefanie Romanowski, Karlo Rosete, Suzanne Troiano, Robert Williams

Project Management: Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC
Jonathan Rose, Principal
Sarah Haga, Senior Project Manager
Sanjeevanee Vidwans, Project Manager

Construction Management: F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc
Frank Sciame, President
Steve Colletta, Project Executive
Robert DaRos, Project Manager

Landscape: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, PC
Signe Nielsen, Principal
Jake Woland, Project Manager

Structural Engineer: John A. Martin Associates, Inc.
Chuck Whitaker, Principal
Kurt Clandening, Project Manager
Matt Timmers, Project Engineer

Goldstein Associates, PLLC
Keith Loo, Principal
Robert Franco, Project Manager

MEP: Mechanical Concepts:
IBE Consulting Engineers
Alan Locke, Principal
Peter Simmonds, Project Manager

Engineer of Record:
Syska Hennessy Group, Inc
Mark Yakren, Principal
Susan Kessler, Project Manager
Sergiu Pelau, Project Manager

Lab Consultant: Steve Rosenstein Associates, Inc
Steve Rosenstein, Principal
T.H. Chang, Principal
John Jaroz, Project Manager

Graphics:Pentagram Design
Abbott Miller, Principal
Laura Lee Vo, Project Manager
John Kudos, Project Designer

Performing Arts/Media: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Leonard Auerbach, President
Paul Garrity, Principal

Lighting Designer: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Inc
Teal Brogden, Principal
Stephen Lees, Principal
Justin Horvath, Project Manager

Acoustics Engineer: Newson Brown Acoustic, LLC
Michael Brown, Principal
Ian Boorer, Project Manager

IT/AV/Security: Syska Hennessy Group, Inc
Valentine Loh, Project Manager
Jeffrey Kirschner, Project Manager

IT: Barnes Wentworth
Herb Hauser, Principal
Kathleen Kotarsky, Project Manager

Civil Engineer: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services
DJ Hodson, P.E. Associate
Karen Taylor, Project Manager

Geotechnical Consultant: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
Alfred Brand, Partner
Walter Kaeck, Senior Associate

Fire Engineer: Arup Fire
Nathan Wittasek, Project Manager

Expeditor/Code: Berzak Schoen Consultants, Ltd
Irene Berzak, Principal

Vertical Transportation: Van Deusen & Associates
Rick Sayah, Associate

Façade Consultant: Gordon H. Smith Corporation
Gordon Smith, Principal
Mitchell Stein, Project Manager

Water Proofing Consultant: Henshell & Buccellato
Justin Henshell, Principal

Sustainable Design/LEED: Davis Langdon
Lisa Fay Matthiessen, Associate
Andrew Zumwalt-Hathaway
Penny Knopps
Environmental Design
Peer Reviewer: Atelier Ten
Nico Kienzl, Director

Co-Generation: Source One, Inc.
Mike Byrnes, Vice President

Source One
Michael Byrnes, Executive Vice-President

Commissioning: Synergy Engineering
Alec Strongin, Principal

Consulting Engineers: Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin, Inc
Peter Irwin, President
Derek Kelly, Project Manager

Cost: Davis Langdon
Ethan Burrows, Associate Principal

  • R

    This really looks like a mess: too much shapes, materials, angles etc. They all add up to a building which makes no impression whatsoever though. I hoped that we were done with this kind of architecture already.

  • http://thedesigndummy.blogspot.com/ designdummyblogger

    OMG! Been waiting for this building…it looks awesome… it doesn’t even look real!

  • http://www.session23design.com Michael

    If Zaha’s and Eisenmann’s Cincinnati offspring had a baby…

  • http://www.the-fake-sartorialist.blogspot.com The Fake Sartorialst

    The interior is fantastic, like jumping into the rabbit-hole in alice in wonderland and falling through a vortex of steel, concrete, glass and perspex.

  • Joan

    Awsomistic

  • astro

    Hey Michael, Morphosis was founded in 1972…Learn your classics.
    Really good looking building by the way. Good exemple for students.

  • orenin

    this building has so much ego i cant help wondering how this will influence the architecture students who will study inside.
    a building that hosts a design school like the cooper can and maybe should be iconic and well designed but it also has to have enough humility as to allow its users the freedom of thought and design without imposing such a strong design language on a daily basis

  • yaulee

    The interior looks intriguing, though can’t really tell how true is the ‘…glazed figure that appears to be carved out of the Third Avenue façade, connecting the creative and social heart of the building to the street.’

  • arnulfo alamil

    stunning!

  • Marcus Des

    Love it! I wish Morphosis would get more assignments in Europe, would make for a better balance with Zaha’s blobs and Rem’s stacked blocks.

  • ysue

    yea this is stunning. i love thom mayne’s works.
    good job!

  • http://www.dha-lea.com dha

    I agree with “R”, it looks really like a mess and seems to be soooo exagerated and ostentatious whitout saying much..

  • amsam

    It’s a lot of look

  • Ari Daman

    Nice building but WHERE ARE THE TREES? New York needs more tree cover.

  • http://www.session23design.com Michael

    astro,

    Spend some time in Eisenmann’s Aronoff Center for the Arts or Zaha’s Contemporary Art Center. Both are in Cincinnati, and they honestly look like Cooper Square’s parents.

    http://zahahadidblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/956_h_binet_co_012.jpg

    http://www.arqa.com/cms/wp-content/files/2009/05/contemporary-arts-center_cincinnati.jpg

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2386/2925480692_e5bb0138d1.jpg

    Two wheelchair unfriendly buildings, occupying corner sites with less focus on the lives of their inhabitants, but more focus on their egos. What was it you think I need to study?

  • sluggo

    “The main elevators stop only at the first, fifth and eighth floors to increase students’ physical activity”
    Very enlightened to force the students into a social experiment no workplace would tolerate.
    That said it looks like an interesting building for students.

  • Crusty the Clown

    This project is criminal. It is highway architecture dropped into downtown Manhattan. It’s a retro sculpture, not a functioning building.

    The proportion of the atrium (non-usable space) to the classrooms is ridiculous. I took a construction tour of the building and asked where the classrooms were – they pointed to tiny rooms (3m x 3m) stacked along the perimeter that were barely sufficient for a professors office space. Perhaps they intend students to learn in the stairways?

    The scale of it is off in so many ways – Thom should stick to building in California where there are highways and huge expanses of open space. He has no sense of density or urbanity.

    And the backside of the building (which is not pictured above, for good reason) looks like a jail. It’s an opaque metal skin with no connection to city street.

  • Etienne

    “The main elevators stop only at the first, fifth and eighth floors to increase students’ physical activity.”
    why not climbing up and down the structure around the atrium?

  • Juca

    Trying to impress on every square inch… makes me think of people who want to squeeze a joke in every sentence. Very tiring.

  • AlexB

    I never understand why designers and those interested in design can’t seem to keep things in perspective. This building will not be typical of all buildings in New York and Morphosis has not inspired hundreds of NY architects to copy this look. It is a one-off building that is designed as a showcase building for an educational institution. Considering the type of buildings that typically go up in NY, this is a real blessing. Does it exhibit a very flashy design sensibility? Yes, but it is also light years ahead of most buildings. If NYU started building buildings half as good as this, it would drastically improve the standing of the university in the city and improve the Village area in general. We should be happy there is a group that cares enough about design to even begin the conversation!

  • liam

    I agree with R and dha. The building is trying waaaay too hard. The stairs are interesting, but the exterior can’t decide what it wants to be and is a bloody mess.

  • Bangaj

    very impressive, but also second Ari Daman…. New York need more trees.

  • LOW

    It’s “cool”… but… it dosen’t fit…

  • tim

    it embodies everything that is wrong with archischools now… thanks cooper.

    i still like morphosis though, the federal building is really nice, as well as the court in Oregon…. something must of happened with the school, or city… even the cladding is a few steps down from the typical

  • http://www.ayalarubio.com Luis Ayala Rubio

    any plans, sections, diagrams to look at?

  • Bangaj

    ” Sometimes you need to commit a murder to appreciate Architecture ” …. guess its my turn to commit murder to truly appreciate this building.

  • sc hu yl er

    +1 on the drawings and diagrams.
    Love the exterior and screening. Inside looks like a thrown together rhino-render.

  • R. M.

    As a recent graduate of Cooper’s School of Art, I just feel that the severe space cuts and the extremely imposing architecture of the new building don’t make for a good space for creating things. Additionally, the exterior mesh looks constantly dirty.

    The limited elevator access to “encourage exercise” really seems like a lame excuse. My guess is that the building’s structure or the architect’s vision wouldn’t allow it.

  • http://www.thestraighttorquer.com Kash

    Wow, very nice. I like it! Plays with perspective, almost as if it’s in a dream or something.

  • Alexa

    I go to this school, so, if I may say so, I have a pretty good idea of how this building works. I am a first year architecture student and I personally love the new building at 41 Cooper Square. When you step inside, the form is not overwhelming or confusing. It’s a creative place to learn and is very sleek. The elevators can cause a slight delay on the way to class, but otherwise there aren’t any other design problems that I’ve run into. The views from classrooms are amazing, but there are two, on the groundlevel, that act as “fishbowls”; this is where the public, on the sidwalk, can literally stop and stare right into an ongoing class, which is sometimes distracting. I’m so happy that I have the chance to inhabit this truly unique building.

  • Florian Pjetergjokaj

    Hey haters I live in East Village, NYC its the most beautiful building alive. Its a stunning building just to look at, forget about going to that school, its a dream come true!

  • thomaschan

    im an architecture student.. micheal morphosis’s design is unique.. he mixed some designs from the famous architects which makes me aspire his work.. his works can aspire or motivates the student’s design…

  • Cooperstudent

    I am a cooper union art student, and as nice as this building is, they appropriated the space poorly. The art school lost space because it was supposed to have 4 more floors instead of just 9. As nice as the design is, there needs to be more space for art students. We are not allowed to put up any art in the building or any sort of installations because it might ‘ruin the aesthetic of the space. The politics of this building needs to be resolved.

  • http://donaldmallow.com Don Mallow

    Unresolved spaces..forms…materials…arbitrary….architectural folly… an otherwise pedestrian building with an interior gutted by a big boring stair… all wrapped in an outside costume..
    It muscles the old Cooper building aside. How could they have built it?

  • rsheeran

    Very interesting structure. I would love to explore it. One issue I seem to have is it's lack of color. The absence of color would indicate an ignored dimension which should have been explored. It should not be all about the structure but the experience and how it makes you feel.