Cooper Union's new academic building by Morphosis is underway
A new academic building for The Cooper Union designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis is under construction in the East Village neighbourhood of New York City. Designed largely to house Cooper Union' s School of Engineering, the nine-storey building will also provide space for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Architecture and the School of Art. The building is Morphosis's first in New York. Mayne's ethereal glass and steel building stands in contradistinction to the School's stone Foundation building located across the street. Mayne's concept for the building is a 「stacked vertical piazza contained within a semi-transparent envelope that articulates the main spaces. The 「vertical campus」 is organized around an open and connected central atrium that rises the full height of the building and is spanned by sky bridges. On the fourth and eight floors is located the social hub of the building equipped with meeting rooms, seminar rooms, wireless hubs and computer drop in centers. The building's primary public spaces will be located on the ground level. The 180,000 square foot building is expected to open in 2008. New York-based Gruzen Samton is Associate Architect for the project.
Did Zaha just put Rem's CCTV building into microwave and slow cooked it into 'Melting Cube'? Or Does Mr. Mayne just want to show the student at Cooper Union how swizz cheese is done in New York? Of Course, Mayne wants a new look in this old NYC fabric district to juxtapose the existing landmarked Cooper Union main building. Still Tom Mayne, obstraction in re-compose the puzzle pieces of his famous re-mapping of the city thru surface analysis. Cooper Union might get a LEED rating brand new flashy metal slash glassy slash translucent object slash 'communicative' slash 'I need a new look' building. For sure, this addition is not just another building in New York City. Tom is a veteran in school institutional architect, he knew much more than just put a flashy building. Let see what others have to say. Or, even better, judge it yourself!
Transpost from ARCspace.com & Architecture-Page.com
The conceptual spatial diagram of the central atrium that forms the backbone of the New Academic Building's circulation and social life.
“We literally designed out from the core, always keeping in mind that the building should be as strong and innovative as the institution itself.”Thom Mayne
The new Academic Building at the Cooper Union occupies an unusually unencumbered site whose four free facades rise from a glass-framed lobby. Entered from the north-west corner, the lobby extends the exterior surface to the inside to become a mezzanine overlooking the gallery on the floor below.
From the entry lobby the ground plane moves on to the central atrium, a “vertical campus,” 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 across Third Avenue to the Foundation Building. The atrium also contributes to the building’s high degree of physical and visual permeability, which helps integrate it into the college’s neighborhood.
To further dissolve the boundaries between inside and outside, a semi-transparent screen of stainless steel spans the entire width of the building along Third Avenue, slanting and strategically breaking to allow views into and out from the building. This stainless steel skin reduces the influx of heat radiation during the summer and serves as a “coat” in cold weather.
The juxtaposition of steel and glass in the building’s skin system allows for heightened performance and dynamic composition on several levels: The steel screen fluctuates in its offset from the glass enclosure from one to eight feet providing a useful tool to vary the scale and texture of the facade relative to the site’s surroundings.
The use of this innovative skin is in keeping with the mission of the Cooper Union to find environmentally sensitive design solutions that will allow the building to achieve a minimum Silver LEEDTM rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Public amenities including an exhibition gallery, 200-seat auditorium, lounge and multi purpose space, Shell retail space along Third Avenue, 15,000 sq.ft.of classrooms (approximate), 40,000 sf of laboratories (approximate), 10,000 sf of Art Teaching Studios and workspaces, 12,000 sf of institution and student activity spaces (approximate), 15,000 sf of administrative and faculty offices (approximate), 4,000 sf of centralized computer center (approximate).
Cooper Union是美國最古老的高等教育學堂之一，由美國企業家同時也是發明家 Peter Cooper 於1859年成立，2009年乃Cooper Union 學院成立一百五十週年，新的建築實踐了 Peter Cooper 的基本思想，即高等教育的特質應該是「如空氣和水那樣自由」，也應該提供給任何有資格的獨立個體，無論其種族、信仰、性別和社會地位如何。受到這種思想的影響，新建築採用了開放空間，每個系都能夠融入到另一個系中，鼓勵相互的交流。
‧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.
設計案名稱：The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art 設計案位置：41 Cooper Square, New York, USA 美國紐約市 業主：The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art 建築師：Morphosis Architects / Thom Mayne 專案經理：Silvia Kuhle 專案建築師：Pavel Getov 專案設計師：Jean Oei, Job Captain, Natalia Traverso Caruana, Go-Woon Seo 主任設計師：Chandler Ahrens 設計團隊：Irena Bedenikovic, Salvador Hidalgo, Debbie Lin, Kristina Loock 專案助理：Ben Damron, Graham Ferrier 模型製作：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 協力建築師：Gruzen Samton 業主代表：Jonathan Rose Companies 承包商：FJ Sciame 配製：Academic and laboratory building with exhibition gallery, auditorium, lounge and multi-purpose space, and retail space 總樓地板面積：16,258 平方米 設計：2004年~2006年 建造：2006年~2009年
We’ll have to wait to find out exactly what the end of the Age of Excess means for architecture in New York. Yes, the glut of high-concept luxury towers was wearisome. But some great civic works were also commissioned in that era. And given the hard economic times, they may be the last we see for quite some time.
The new academic building at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is yet more proof that some great art was produced in those self-indulgent times. Designed by Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles firm Morphosis, it is not a perfect building, but it is the kind of serious work that we don’t see enough of in New York: a bold architectural statement of genuine civic value. Its lively public spaces reaffirm that enlightenment comes from the free exchange of ideas, not just inward contemplation.
Perhaps more important, the building seems to strike just the right tone for this time in New York’s history. A wholly contemporary work, it has a bold, aggressive profile that says as much about the city we’ve lost as it does about the future we are building. It proves that a brash, rebellious attitude can be a legitimate form of civic pride.
The building occupies a contentious site at Cooper Square, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, in the East Village. The area has experienced a particularly painful process of gentrification in the past decade. First, generic glass boxes began popping up along the Bowery. Then CBGB closed. For me the final straw was the opening in 2005 of Gwathmey Siegel’s undulating glass luxury apartment tower at Astor Place, a vulgar knockoff of Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt Glass Skyscraper project and a symbol of the era’s me-first mentality.
Mr. Mayne’s building does not shy away from this debate by trying to fade into the background. Seen from the old Cooper Union Foundation building across the street, its big concave facade is enveloped in a glittering perforated metal screen, like armor, so that it’s hard at first to get a grip on the building’s scale. A big vertical slot is cut out of the facade’s center, as if it had been ripped open.
Yet the more you look at the building, the more it looks right at home in its surroundings. From certain angles the facade’s concave form seems to exert a magnetic pull, as if it were trying to embrace the neighborhood in front of it. The curve of the corner, which lifts up to invite people inside the lobby, has an unexpected softness. Even the bulky exterior mirrors the proportions of the Foundation building — a friendly nod to its older neighbor.
The effect is tough and sexy at the same time. One of the most overlooked strengths of Mr. Mayne’s designs is his feel for material. He is not a finicky designer; you don’t look to his work for refined details. He tends instead to extract beauty from the crudest industrial materials: raw concrete, steel I-beams, metal screens. The connections between materials are always clearly expressed, never smoothed over, so that you can feel the memory of the workers’ hands. It is what makes his buildings — like the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif. — so approachable.
This strategy is social as well as aesthetic. Here the big V-shaped columns that line the sidewalk not only support the building, but they also create small pockets of space where students can hang out along the street. Behind them the lobby is clad entirely in glass. Just inside, a narrow staircase runs along the base of the window down to a basement gallery and theater. Other views open down to the gallery from Seventh Street.
The idea is to create a series of interlocking social spaces, many undefined, and to allow for the kind of casual encounter that is a central part of urban life. And it reflects Mr. Mayne’s ambivalence over the Modernist obsession with transparency. To the Modernists transparency equaled truth. To Mr. Mayne’s generation, which formed its ideas in the 1960s, it could also mean uniformity. Like other radical architects of his age, he is more interested in the dark, hidden corners where people can loiter, get into mischief, escape from authority.
The social heart of the building is a vast internal staircase, which sweeps from the lobby all the way to the fourth floor. The staircase, 20 feet wide at its base, has a classical grandeur, as if the Met’s front stairs had been pulled inside the building. The stair narrows as it rises, creating a forced perspective that exaggerates its length. A big window frames the top, allowing light to spill down into the lobby and drawing you up into the space.
From the top people will filter around to each side and climb a smaller, asymmetrical spiral stair to the upper floors. When I first looked up through this space I immediately thought of the Baroque domes of Guarino Guarini, except that the complex order of Guarini’s domes represents divine order. In Mayne’s version that world has been set off balance, as if to allow for imperfections, and it is inhabited by students.
The building’s flaws, though, lie not in a failure of vision but in questions about its execution. The most serious of these have to do with circulation. I expect there will be complaints, for example, about the main elevators, which only go up to the fifth and eighth floors. The system is based on a design by Le Corbusier, who used it in his 1952 Unité d’Habitation housing block in Marseilles. Since it eliminated the need for corridors on every other floor, he could create big, floor-through duplex apartments with windows on both sides. But here it doesn’t make much sense, because the building is made up of standard, single-story offices and classrooms. Most students will have to walk an extra flight up or down to get to their classes.
Another subtle but important problem is the depth of the treads on the grand staircase. The stairs in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are 14 inches deep, which is what makes them such a nice place to sit, rest, chat with a stranger. Mr. Mayne’s stairs are a standard 11 inches, like a conventional fire stairwell. They are hard to sit on, and they gave me vertigo when I began my descent from the third floor. Does this sound picky? Not in a design that is all about the informal use of public space. It is the difference between a very good building and a great one.
Still, Mr. Mayne has created a serious work of architecture. And when we look back on this era, the new academic building will stand out with a handful of other designs — the New Museum, perhaps, and the renovation of Alice Tully Hall — as projects that we, as a city, can feel proud of. They leave you with the comforting thought that even in egotistical times, a spirit of generosity can assert itself.
楊恩達 Enta Yang 助理教授 Assistant Professor @ 逢甲大學建築系 Dept of Architecture, Feng Chia University 總監 Director @ 牧易建築事務所 mmuuii architects 創辦人 Founder @ 準建學堂 FAschool 創辦人 Founder @ 準建築人手札 forgemind archimedia