Cooper Union

Cooper Union

Architect
SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership
Location
New York, NY
Project Year
2009
Category
Universities

Exhibitions
Juliana Thomas

ADVANCING THE MISSION: THE COOPER UNION AT 150

SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership as Architects

As part of its 150th anniversary and overall institutional rebranding, the
Cooper Union retained SKOLNICK to design Advancing the Mission,
a new permanent exhibition in the lobby of its influential Great Hall.
Widening the space’s volume, and honoring the Great Hall’s historically
significant architecture, the exhibit invites visitors to discover the Hall’s
role in promoting the institution’s growth through ideals of democracy,
social justice, philanthropy, and public education. An encompassing red
drum creates a meditative entryway, taking its shape from the building’s
enigmatic elevator, and quotes from the Union’s founder wrap pillars supporting the architecture: “We are all bound up in one common destiny.”
Glass panels double as layered graphic surfaces and protective casework
for artifacts, and wall paper graphics set a relevant backdrop for presenting
the stories of iconic radicals who took the Great Hall stage over
the years, including Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick
Douglass. Visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to recognize that many
cultural shifts of national scale were launched from this very site through
democratic community activism.

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