The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union offers a five-year program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture, a first professional degree accredited by the NAAB. The philosophical foundation of the school is committed to the complex symbiotic relationships of education, research, theory, practice and a broad spectrum of creative endeavors relevant to significant architectural development. The five-year Design sequence is structured to integrate the elements of architecture, investigation of program, construction, structure, form and space; and to generate an effective, forceful and spirited architecture. Students are encouraged to search deeply into the existing abundance of architectural knowledge and to focus on the ideas and works of architecture that have positively affected the environment for the betterment of the human condition. Fundamental to the school is the maintenance of a long-established creative environment where freedom of thought and intuitive exploration are given a place to flourish, where the intangible chemistry of personal and public interactions stimulate an intensity of purpose and dedication, where the gifted mind and spirit can seek the means of expression and the mastery of form, and where a sense of the vast and joyous realm of creation can reveal an unending path for gratifying human endeavor. Students' spontaneous or directed collaboration results from a community wherein mutual respect and appreciation are honored. This authentic collegial environment and experience fosters a developing professionalism drawn from inner growth rather than acquired manner.

The content of the curriculum, based on a wide cultural view of architecture, reflects broad ethical values. Faculty-student interaction is conducted on an intensive basis in the Design studio and other classes. Within this framework faculty members encourage students to develop their individual interests and strengths, with a constant stress on fundamentals and a basic commitment intended to equip the graduate with a lasting ability to produce an architecture which is a meaningful synthesis of the social, aesthetic and technological. The relationship between architecture and other creative disciplines is stressed through the five years. Students are encouraged to express themselves both verbally and visually.

The architecture curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for the professional practice of architecture by equipping them with a depth of understanding of human needs and a command of technology that will enable them to serve their community by shaping the man-made environment in a way that will focus their analytical powers on the many issues involved in creating shelter and space for the complex needs of our society.

The Cooper Union's location in the heart of New York City affords a wealth of practicing professionals of the highest distinction as faculty and has a profound effect on many other features of the program. Students live, work and study in a world city that provides an urban laboratory unparalleled in its stimulation and opportunities for research, as well as unique social and cultural institutions. The school's renowned faculty includes, among others, architects who have won awards in international competitions in the United States and abroad. The school's diverse student body consists of highly talented and motivated individuals and its distinguished alumni are leaders in architecture and related fields.

With over 8,000 square feet of studio space, each student has their own drafting table and work area. The studio functions as a classroom in which instruction occurs, as a laboratory in which projects are conceived and developed, and as a base of operations. Classroom facilities include a lecture hall, seminar room and ample presentation space. Design studios are team-taught and the overall faculty–student ratio is 1:5.

The School of Architecture Computer Studio work stations are each equipped with a drawing table, parallel edge and computer. The computer applications include the latest two-dimensional drafting and three-dimensional modeling and animation programs. The facility offers video-editing programs and equipment with a large projection screen linked to each computer station. Internet access is also available from each computer station.

The school also maintains active exhibition and publication programs. One of its most notable publications continues to be Education of an Architect, the first volume of which documents a 1971 exhibition of the same name at the Museum of Modern Art. The second volume presents student work from 1972-1985 and a third volume is currently in preparation.

The Bachelor of Architecture degree requirements are intended to provide students with a rigorous training in and exposure to the creative and technical aspects of architecture. The professional courses in the curriculum are supplemented and enhanced by the general studies requirement which is partially fulfilled by other required courses in the architecture curriculum as well as other elective credits.

Irma Giustino Weiss Cultural Enrichment Fellowship Program