The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

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Professors Anthony Candido, Stephen Rustow, Michael Young, and Tamar Zinguer

First Semester Project: Analysis – Pavilions
Pavilions exemplify definitive moments in architectural practice from the middle of the 19th century through the beginning of the 21st. While most of the examples included are modern, some predate modernism and a few extend beyond.

Each student selected a pavilion from the following list and documented it, drawing plans, sections and elevations with the greatest precision possible using all available resources: books and periodicals, photographs, written accounts, films and sketches.

Analysis entailed identifying the different orders and systems governing the design – its spatial, tectonic, material and structural aspects, and cultural meaning. A methodology of examination, documentation and representation was invented that was particularly appropriate to each building. Cutting, dissecting, inserting, lifting, sinking and erasing were employed as needed in order to explain the systems and orders of each pavilion.

Using that methodology, the project was reorganized through a series of drawings. Analytic models were to be made of multiple pieces – from 2 to 1000 – conceived and built in such a way as to allow the pavilion to be disassembled and reassembled again, highlighting the interrelationship between its various parts.

Pavilions Analyzed:
1. Victor Balthard, Les Halles Pavilions, Paris, 1853
2. Bruno Taut, Glass Pavilion, Deutsche Werkbund Exhibition, Köln, 1914
3. Le Corbusier, Pavilion de L'Esprit Nouveau, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1925
4. Konstantin Melnikov, Soviet Pavilion, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1925
5. Mies van der Rohe, German Pavilion, Barcelona Exposition, 1929
6. Josef Hoffmann, Austrian Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1934
7. Alvar Aalto, Finnish Pavilion, Paris International Exhibition, 1937
8. Le Corbusier, Pavilion des Temps Nouveaux, Paris International Exhibition, 1937
9. Jose Luis Sert, Spanish Pavilion, Paris International Exhibition, 1937
10. Alvar Aalto, Finnish Pavilion, New York World's Fair, 1939
11. Alvar Aalto, Finnish Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1956
12. Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis, Philips Pavilion, Exposition Universelle, Brussels, 1958
13. Sverre Fehn, Nordic Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 1962
14. Le Corbusier, Heidi Weber Pavilion, Zurich, 1963
15. Aldo Van Eyck, Sculpture Pavilion, Park Sonsbeek, Arnhem, Netherlands, 1966
16. Enric Miralles, Archery Pavilion, Barcelona, 1992
17. Zaha Hadid, Landesgartenschau Pavilion, Weil am Rhein, Germany, 1999

Second Semester Project
Governors Island, strategically located in New York Harbor, is a designated National Monument and National Historic Landmark District. The original 92 acres have been inhabited since the early 17th century when the island was called Pagganack or «Nut Island» by the Native Americans after its numerous hickory, oak and chestnut trees. It was deforested by the first Dutch settlers who bought the island in 1637 and used the lumber of Nutten Island to build New Amsterdam (now lower Manhattan). It was then captured by the British, who recognized its strategic location, and was fortified in 1776 by the Americans when they recaptured it. The island – whose surface area was increased to 172 acres with landfill from the construction in 1912 of the Lexington Avenue Subway – has served an important military function for the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard over the last two hundred years. Since 1996, Governors Island has been unoccupied and currently, different possibilities for its future use are being discussed.

The spring semester project of Third Year Design was informed by this initiative, and entailed the design of a museum in the historic district, where three sites were considered for possible development. One site, currently occupied by a Motel 6 that is to be demolished, faces Fort Jay; another site, adjoining Castle Williams looks toward New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty and the harbor; while the third site, adjacent to the ferry terminal, faces downtown Manhattan.

As Governors Island becomes again a destination to be visited, a museum with historical artifacts would expound its historical significance, while a museum of contemporary art would tie the cultural activities on the island to the rest of New York City. Each student chose one of three possible programs for a museum of 50,000 square feet to be sited on the island:

  • A Maritime Museum whose largest exhibited artifact would entail a section of the SS. Normandie, the luxurious French ocean liner whose maiden voyage, to New York City, took place in 1935. The Normandie was seized by the U.S. Navy in 1941 and turned into a troopship.
  • A Museum of Cartography, where among maps and related artifacts, Robert Moses's large Panorama of New York City would be displayed. It was first exhibited at the 1964 World's Fair and is currently housed at the Queens Museum of Art.
  • A Museum of Contemporary Art, for the exhibition of paintings, sculpture and works of other media. The core of the collection would include large sculptures, such as Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses or Rachel Whiteread's large casts.

Issues of site, context and program were important to the development of the projects, as were structural and technological considerations.