Letter from the Dean

Dear Friends, Alumni and Members of The Cooper Union Community:

It gives me great pleasure to write to you as we approach the launching of a new year, 2020. The last five years have been important ones for me personally, as The Cooper Union has transformed me as a teacher, architect and leader. I continue to be infinitely thankful for having been given the responsibility of the deanship and am honored daily for the relationships I have been able to establish with students, faculty, administration and members of the larger community. The last five years have also been quite transformative for The Cooper Union and this is an occasion to reckon with some of the passages we have overseen together, to celebrate accomplishments, and to envision a path forward as we look forward to a new decade.

My early years here have been marked by a perpetual state of transition: first, the departure of the former administration, second the re-establishment of trust as a search was launched for a new president, third, the welcoming of Laura Sparks to our community, and more recently the palpable sense that the new mission is making its mark on the culture of the institution, all within a short period of time. No doubt, the decision to focus on the return to full-scholarships for all undergraduates has been the cornerstone of this new era, in part, putting aside any philosophical debate on what is a foundational value held by The Cooper Union. But also, and of equal importance, this has created the space to make advances in the areas of research, pedagogy, and inter-disciplinary collaborations that are rightfully the substance of what has merited our reputation in the past. Thus, while I have already been here for five years, this is maybe the first time that I can look back and see some of the patterns we have been able to achieve and some critical thresholds that we have already crossed.

With the welcoming of Michael Young and Lorena del Rio to the full-time faculty two years ago, and Lydia Kallipoliti and Nora Akawi this year, we have overseen two major searches that have brought the critical voices of these individuals into the daily fabric of our studios and seminars. They have also been invaluable in the curatorial aspects of our lectures, exhibitions and targeted projects; thus, I feel that their presence alongside Anthony Vidler and Diana Agrest as full-time professors has created a new, committed community of collaborators with whom we can imagine the future.

Since my arrival, we have also had to attend to our admissions process with diligence, in great part as a result of the transition we have had to oversee towards going back to full-scholarships. Admittedly, this has been a great challenge, but we have already seen good returns on the efforts with the early decision applications for Architecture being doubled compared to the cycle last year. In part, this may also be due to our attention to our academic output, faculty and student accomplishments, and the necessary celebrations we have broadcasted to remind the academy, the profession and the world about how much the work of the school remains vital to architectural culture today. To name just a few of the key contributions: this year Diana Agrest published her book Architecture of Nature / Nature of Architecture , featuring the work of ten years of pedagogy from the Master of Architecture II research and studios, and the topic of our own symposium this past semester. Anthony Vidler was in residence at the American Academy in Berlin and is currently completing his manuscript of a new book on the theories and practice of Architecture in the Post-Atomic Era. This year, Michael Young has been honored as the recipient of the American Academy in Rome Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon Rome Prize. Lydia Kallipoliti’s work was featured in both the London Design Museum and the Oslo Triennale this past year, while capping off the year as a winner of the Best of Design 2019 Awards for the Architect’s Newspaper for her Life On Mars: From Feces to Food project. Nora Akawi served as the curator of the Al majhoola min al-ard at the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orleans this year; we are also celebrating the arrival of her daughter Na ï ra, newly born a few weeks ago. Lorena del Rio, who also recently welcomed Mateo to the family, has been busy with the design and construction of three new houses all underway, with a second-place award for the Municipal Public Library in Las Tablas, and the recent opening of the 1+1 House Part exhibition at the MAXXI in Rome.

It is these and many other ongoing accomplishments that have triggered the annual ascendance of The Cooper Union on the DesignIntelligence rankings to fourth overall for the most admired Undergraduate Architecture Program. Equally important , The Cooper Union was cited as Second in various concurrent rankings under Research, Communications and Presentation Skills, as well as Design Theory and Practice, fourth in Inter-disciplinary studies, and seventh in both Design Technologies and Healthy Built Environments. Other important accomplishments have also helped catapult The Cooper Union into conversation with other programs. Our Architectonics Studio, led by Mersiha Veledar, won first prize last year in Architect Magazine’s The Studio Prize ; also last year, Tamar Zinguer oversaw a seminar on “Play” that featured six graduate students whose papers were accepted to the annual ACSA Fall Conference in Wisconsin. Our collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and this past year’s engagement with HELP USA on housing in the Bronx and Brooklyn are other initiatives that bring The Cooper Union in dialogue with the social urgencies that mark our day, and in dialogue with our communities. In a similar vein, our ongoing work with the Museum of Modern Art oversaw the completion of several stunning models for their recent exhibition, Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 , and discussions on collaborating on their next major architecture exhibition. The School of Architecture also participated in a number of exciting and successful off-site installations of student work over the summer: IBEJI at the dieFirma Gallery in New York led by Julian Palacio with the students of Structures I; the Imagination of Space, a project on Governors Island led by Ceren Bingol and the students of the spring semester elective class Phenomenology of Space, and The Festival des Architectures Vives 2019 in Montpellier with Julian Palacio and the students of Structures I.

More recently, we celebrated the launching of the online   Student Work Collection   database, which represents over eight decades of The Cooper Union’s experimental, influential approach to architectural education. Available via a free, public website at   archswc.cooper.edu , the material provides invaluable opportunities for enriching public understanding of American culture, history, and the democratic ideals that shape our built environment. With the success of this launch, we now look forward to beginning work on Phase II (2000-present) to extend the documentation to become a living archive of the work of the school on an annual basis going forward.

As we look forward to the second half of this academic year, we are excited to be part of two important exhibitions. The first already underway is the Shenzhen Biennale, with professors Ben Aranda and Sam Keene leading teams of architecture and engineering students to undertake an exploration of Artificial Intelligence in relationship to facial recognition and privacy. A selection of faculty and students, including Nora Akawi, Hayley Eber, Lydia Kallipoliti, Lauren Kogod and Ife Vanable will participate in next year’s upcoming Venice Biennale, with reflections on How we Might Live Together .

We are deeply appreciative of the support you have given us over the past years and have made every effort to gain the presence of our own community on our reviews, lectures, exhibitions, and events. To that end, I would like to thank Anne Romme for her invitation for our faculty to discuss pedagogy with faculty of the KADK in Copenhagen as well as her participation in our own symposium Pedagogies of Risk ; Nandini Bagchee for her lecture Counter Institution: Insurgent Spaces, Roger Broome for his meticulous assistance with the upcoming Nivola in New York: Figure in Field exhibition scheduled for opening on 23 January 2020, as well as Stanley Allen, Peggy Deamer, Hayley Eber, Natalie Fizer, David Gersten, Laurie Hawkinson, Bradley Horn, Kyna Leski, Toshiko Mori, Joan Ockman and Tamar Zinguer among others who contributed to a broad range of events this past semester. Many alumni participated in portfolio review and professional mentoring programs with our students and alumnus Peter Tomashevski is capping off our year with his third annual invitation of students to lodge at the Villa Saraceno, replete with tours in Vicenza, Verona, Venezia and Torino.

As we look towards the new year, I am also very happy to announce that after some forty years, the School of Architecture studios will be refurbished with new furnishings and technologies, including new dynamic work tables, storage compartments, common tables for collaboration, computer stations and expanded pin-up areas for in-studio discussions. I am deeply indebted to outgoing Associate Dean Elizabeth O’Donnell whose tireless efforts over the past eighteen years have prepared us for this intense transition, and her direct collaboration on the design of the studio alongside alumnus and professor Sam Anderson who served as architect for the project.

As we reflect together on the year past and the year yet to unfold, we hope that you will honor The Cooper Union, in its efforts to return to full scholarships, and the School of Architecture, in its continued commitment to the education of architects “equal to the best” with a year-end gift. In this time of hope, renewal and great challenge, it is not so important how much you give, but that you give, as we work together to have as much of an impact on The Cooper Union as we are having on the world at large.

With all best wishes for the year ahead, and warmth, 
Nader Tehrani
Professor and Dean, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
Nivola in New York: Figure in Field

Opening Reception Thursday, January 23 | 6:30PM
Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery

An exhibition of the work of Italian sculptor Constantino Nivola (1911-1988), known for his large-scale bas-reliefs, murals, and free-standing sculptural installations created in collaboration with architects. The exhibition is the first-ever to tell the story of Nivola's built New York City projects through maquettes and sculptures, original drawings, site-specific photographs, and related ephemera. The exhibition also features a timeline outlining 62 projects that Nivola made in collaboration with architects over approximately 40 years. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Costantino Nivola Foundation.

New York is home to the largest gathering of Nivola's public artworks - 21 pieces across all five boroughs, at least 17 of which still exist. In addition to the exhibition, The Cooper Union will present a variety of related programming (dates to follow), including a panel on the role of public art, as well as off-site educational workshops, a free pocket guide and tours of Nivola's work throughout the city.

This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Image: Apartment Building Lobby, 1955. Raymond Loewy, Designer. 1025 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.
Student Work Collection Database: Phase I

The Student Work Collection represents over eight decades of The Cooper Union's experimental, influential approach to architectural education. The material encompasses analog image, text, and audio records as well as born-digital media that document more than 4,500 projects by over 1,500 students from the 1930s through the present are now available via a free, public website at archswc.cooper.edu . Phase I includes the Collection's approximately 20,000 analog records dating from the 1930s to 2000. This work highlights the architectural pedagogy that distinguishes The Cooper Union as preeminent in the education of architects.

Image: Michaela Frühwirth. Design II, Spring 1998. Analysis: Palladio, Villa Emo
2020 Architectural League Prize | Value

Deadline: February 10

Young architects and designers are invited to submit work to the annual Architectural League Prize Competition. Projects of all types, either theoretical or real, and executed in any medium, are welcome. The Jury will select work for presentation in lectures, digital media, and an exhibition in June 2020. Winners will receive a cash prize of $2,000.
SOM Summer Internships

Deadline: February 28

SOM is looking for the next generation of design leaders to join their Summer Internship Program.

Gain valuable, hands-on experience over the course of 10 weeks working as a member of the SOM team, collaborating with global experts on some of the most exciting and transformative architecture, engineering, planning, and sustainability projects in the world.
Faculty and Staff News
Anthony Vidler, Arch facLecture | Global Homelessness, Stuk Kunstencentrum VZW, December 18, 2019, Leuven, Belgium | Speaker | Public Launch: Storefront’s Digital Archive, Storefront for Art & Architecture, December 18, 2019, NYC

Lydia Kallipoliti, Arch fac | Lecture | "Open Lecture on Closed Systems," Estonian Academy of the Arts, December 15, 2019, Tallin, Estonia | Lecture | "Participation at the Interdisciplinary Program on the Origins and Conditions of Appearance of Life," University of Arizona Conference on Life Support Systems at the Biosphere 2, December 11-13, 2019, Oracle, Arizona
Joan Ockman, AR ’80/Arch fac | Feature | “Gift Guide: 10 Covetable Books for Design Lovers,” AZURE MAGAZINE, December 6, 2019

Lauren Kogod, Arch fac | Speaker | Public Launch: Storefront’s Digital Archive, Storefront for Art & Architecture, December 18, 2019, NYC
Alumni News
Elizabeth Diller, AR ’79 | Feature | “Gift Guide: 10 Covetable Books for Design Lovers,” AZURE MAGAZINE, December 6, 2019

Jesse Reiser, AR ’81, Nanako Umemoto, AR ’93 | Feature | “Holiday Roundup of Architecture Books 2019,” ARCHITECTURAL RECORD, December 9, 2019

Jeanine Centuori, AR ’83 | Article | “Blueprint for Success,” SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL, September 30, 2019

Yaoyi Fan, AR ’18 | Article | ”’Instant Lounge’ by UEO Opens as part of the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019,” ARCHINECT, December 12, 2019 
Gabriel Munnich, AR ’18 | Article | ”’Instant Lounge’ by UEO Opens as part of the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019,” ARCHINECT, December 12, 2019

Pablo Toubes-Rieger, AR ’18 | Article | ”’Instant Lounge’ by UEO Opens as part of the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019,” ARCHINECT, December 12, 2019 

Leslie Dougrou, AR ’18 | Article | ”’Instant Lounge’ by UEO Opens as part of the Shenzhen Biennale (UABB) 2019,” ARCHINECT, December 12, 2019 
Open Calls & Opportunities

JPG: Workspaces for Tomorrow gives students and young professionals in the field of architecture and design the opportunity to consider the evolving role of work in our society, and how our work spaces could be transformed. Deadline: March 20, 2020


Fairy Tales 2020 challenges participants to create a unique architectural fairy tale, combining a text narrative with 5 images in the most spectacular way. Deadline: December 19

Storefront for Art and Architecture: Museum of History and Community of Puerta Tierra  What does a museum that serves its community look like? How can we create new understandings of the role of a cultural institution and its public purpose? Deadline: December 20


House in Forest 2020 - Wooden House aims to promote environmentally friendly and ideas on sustainability through design. Registration Deadline: December 31

Humanities Institute of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at The New York Botanical Garden is pleased to offer three full-time, residential Research Fellowships for 2020 for current Ph.D. students or recent post-doctoral researchers. Deadline: January 6

Future Architecture explores the boundaries and potential new systems and coalitions in architecture. It is a platform that provides practitioners and conceptual thinkers with opportunities to speak up. Deadline: January 6

2020 HART HOWERTON TRAVEL FELLOWSHIP  is available to undergraduate and graduate students in planning, architecture, landscape architecture or urban design who will be entering their final year of study in September 2020. Deadline: January 25
Harvard Graduate School of Design's 2020 Wheelwright Prize is an open international competition that awards $100,000 to a talented early-career architect to support expansive, intensive research. Deadline: January 26, 2020

MOA ARCHITECTURE: Kiyoshi Murata Scholarship + Internship  offers an annual merit based private scholarship award + paid summer internship (plus paid travel and living reimbursement) to students in accredited architectural programs. Deadline: January 31

Bard Graduate Center Research and Visiting Fellowships   are designed to further the institution's goal of promoting research in the areas of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. For questions, please contact fellowships@bgc.bard.edu. Deadlines: November 15, 2019 and February 1

The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers: Value invites young architects and designers to submit work to the annual Architectural League Prize Competition. Projects of all types, either theoretical or real, and executed in any medium, are welcome. Deadline: February 10

Superscape 2020 is a biennial prize that seeks to explore new models of urban living within a 30 year timeline. Deadline: March 16

Legendary Bird Home 2020 tasks participants to present innovative designs for a bird house that can be built at home using sustainable materials and methods. Registration Deadline: April 14

BELT TIGHTENING - Bungalows for the Millenial Family  Learning from the history and design of bungalows and utilizing the standard Chicago lot, design a new housing prototype for Chicago. Deadline: May 22