Editor’s note: Listing updated on October 19, 2022
The Cooper Union’s five-year program builds from foundational concepts of architectonics and representation to more complex courses in architectural criticism and analysis of architectural texts. The degree concludes with a year-long research and design thesis with a focus on sustainability and a professional practice course. Open to applicants with an accredited professional degree in architecture and a minimum of one year of post-grad work experience, The Cooper Union’s customizable graduate program offers three concentrations: theory, history and criticism, urban studies and technologies, and a required emphasis in either urbanism or technologies of representation.
Located on the third floor of the historic Foundation Building, the school’s communal studio space closes at midnight or 2 am, depending on the day, to foster a healthier working culture (no all-nighters here). The Cooper Union also places a strong emphasis on documentation: its archive has collected an abundance of student work since the 1930s.
The school operates on a global scale, from exploring modernism in Chicago to the Festival des Architecture Vives in Montpellier and showcasing student work around the world. Recently, students and faculty exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2021, responding to the theme of “How do we live together?” with a project that addressed the ramifications of COVID-19 on urban life in New York City. The Cooper Union is also connected to its immediate community through partnerships to develop affordable housing prototypes, collaborations with the local DieFirma gallery to exhibit student work and artists’ residencies. And, the school’s lecture series welcomes the industry’s leading voices, including Yung Ho Chang to Lacaton & Vassal, to contribute to public discourse around architecture.
Helmed by Nader Tehrani of NADAAA since 2015, The Cooper Union recently began its search for a new Dean (Hayley Eber is acting dean). Tehrani’s final act in the role was the establishment of the John Hejduk Endowment, a scholarship for minority voices, in alignment with efforts to diversify the school’s curriculum. Founded on a commitment to diversity and fair access to free education, The Cooper Union has set a lofty goal to return to a full-scholarship model for undergraduates by 2028 – and for all students within 10 years.
Nader Tehrani (former dean), Diana Agrest, Susannah Drake
Shigeru Ban, Daniel Libeskind, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (Diller Scofidio + Renfro), Karen Bausman, Toshiko Mori, T.J. Gottesdiener (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), Alex Mustonen (Snarkitecture)