41 Cooper Square | Morphosis Architects

• September 17, 2009

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

41 Cooper Square is the Advancement of Science and Art building for the Cooper Union designed by Morphosis Architects. The project has won the Best Green Design of 2009 Awards from the New York Construction. Built with sustainability goals, 41 Cooper Square is the first LEED certified academic laboratory building in New York City.

For 150 years, The Cooper Union has been guided by the spirit of creativity and innovation, fully realized in the execution of our extraordinary, high performance, inspirational academic building. The college’s longstanding commitment to excellence will flourish at 41 Cooper Square, a truly unique and environmentally sophisticated space that fosters academic, intellectual and social engagement

Dr. George Campbell Jr., President of The Cooper Union.

The Cooper Union has served as an incubator for talented artists, architects and engineers since it opened in 1859. This stirring landmark space will allow us to honor Peter Cooper’s legacy of an ‘education second to none’ that is ‘as free as water and air

Ronald Drucker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Union.

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

+ Project description courtesy of Morphosis

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.

+ Architect’s Statement courtesy of 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.

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

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.

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

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41 Cooper Square, image courtesy of Morphosis Architects | Photo by Iwan Baan

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.

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Site Plan + Axonometric View, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Basement Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Level 1 Floor Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Level 4 Floor Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Level 5 Floor Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Level 6 Floor Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Level 8 Floor Plan, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Longitudinal Section, drawing © Morphosis Architects

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Cross Section, drawing © Morphosis Architects

+ Project credits / data

Project: 41 Cooper Square
Location: 41 Cooper Square New York City, New York, United States of America 10003
Program: Academic and laboratory building with exhibition gallery, auditorium, lounge and multi-purpose space, and retail space
Client: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Building Team: Thom Mayne/Morphosis Architects with Gruzen Samton LLP architects; Jonathan Rose Companies, the owner’s representative; and F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.

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.

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Category: Architecture, Education

Comments (2)

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  1. LA.MIN.R says:

    [...] MOOD makes the sweetest post (there are a couple of  interior shots that I haden’t seen before) yet on the new Cooper Union bldg by Morphosis. [...]

  2. perfect imagination of space upgrated solution for gathering people on the atrium i really love the attitude and phylosophy of architecture which emerge of sophisticated mind of my master tom