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Friday, June 12, 2009

Cooper Union, New York, United States

WAN go street-side to bring you first look photos of Morphosis' Cooper Union
The honourable duty of designing the new home for the next generation of artists, engineers and architects was bestowed upon Thom Mayne of Morphosis when he was chosen from 150 architects vying for the new Cooper Union building. Now nearing completion on New York's 3rd Avenue, these exclusive first look images reveal the design is fit for inspiration.

The Cooper Union is one of the United States oldest higher education facilities, founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper. Now, 150 years later, the new building is designed to reflect Cooper’s fundamental belief that education of the highest quality should be as 'free as air and water' and should be available to all who qualify, independent of race, religion, gender or social status. Manifesting this spirit of integration and equality in physical form, the design creates an open space, within which each department can merge into the next and interaction is encouraged through design.

Conceived as a stacked vertical piazza, the exterior is impactive and coerces intrigue, with selective permeability drawing attention to activity within. The vertical campus is organized around a central atrium that rises to the full height of the building. This connective volume, spanned by sky bridges, opens up view corridors across Third Avenue to the Foundation Building.

Utilising the latest facade technology the building operates within a porous skin above lobby level. It is clad in semitransparent, openable perforated stainless-steel panels that will be operated by the building manager. The operable panels can create a continually moving pattern, providing surface variety on the facade, shielding the interior from the sun, providing cooling during the summer months and acting as an insulating layer during the winter, also used as a tool in achieving Silver LEED status making it the first green academic laboratory building in New York City.

Within this skin, the new facility provides the Cooper Union with seminar rooms, social space, an exhibition gallery, auditorium and retail space.

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