The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

LECTURES 2005–06
Fall 2005 Public Lectures: Architecture and...
Spring 2006 Public Lectures
Feltman Lectures
Student Lecture Series
Other Events

Presented in Co-sponsorship with the Architectural League of New York.

The contemporary world poses great challenges and offers extraordinary provocations and opportunities to architecture. In celebration of the 125th anniversary of its founding, the Architecture League will present Architecture and… a year-long series of programs using multiple vantage points to explore the current state and future potential of the discipline.

Architecture and the 'ings' of things
October 18, 2005

Australian architect Glenn Murcutt is best known for his compact, ecologically responsive residences and small-scale institutional structures. Their architectural language derives from the simple vernacular forms and materials of the working structures of the Australian bush fused with the spare elegance of modernist design. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2002, Murcutt was cited for by the jury for his "architecture of place...that responds to the landscape and the climate."

Architecture and Cities: Recombinant Urbanism
With responses by Diana Agrest, Brian McGrath, Dennis Adams, and Anthony Vidler.

November 17, 2005

Organized in conjunction with the publication of the new book, Recombinant Urbanism (Wiley, 2005), by Grahame Shane. Shane takes a fresh look at urban design as practiced in North America and Europe, considering the main approaches that have evolved over the past several decades to deal with the fragmented contemporary city.  In addition to looking at the influences of participatory planning processes, zoning codes, finance, and marketing on urban form, Recombinant Urbanism proposes a new approach to contemporary practice that proposes urban modeling as an method of augmenting standard architectural design practices in an urban context.

Architecture and Art: Architecture as Platform
A conversation with Olafur Eliasson

November 21, 2005

Peter Zumthor’s design for the Kunsthaus Bregenz embodies its artistic mission to provide “an open platform for the artwork as well as for the audience.” Clad in plate glass and steel, the museum’s facade is both reflective and revealing. Natural light illuminates the open loft-like interior. The four-story building, which opened in 2001, is intended for use as a gallery, “temporary studio, and even a research and production laboratory for projects still to be developed.” Over the past four years, the Kunsthaus Bregrenz has held exhibitions by over two dozen artists including Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Louise Bourgeois, Pierre Huyghe, Mariko Mori, Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, Thomas Demand, and Rachel Whiteread.

Trained as a cabinet maker before studying architecture, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has designed a number of residential and institutional projects. He received the Carlsberg Architecture Prize for the Kunsthaus Bregenz and the Thermal Baths in Vals, Switzerland. A proponent of ‘slow architecture,’ Zumthor explored issues of meaning, place and design in the 1998 publication Thinking Architecture.

Artist Olafur Eliasson, born and educated in Copenhagen, and currently based in Berlin, has used water, light, temperature and pressure as means of exploring perception. His 2001 installation “ The Mediated Motion” at the Kunsthaus Bregenz was comprised of a series of spaces filled with water, fog, earth, wood, fungus and duckweed, creating a multi sensory gallery experience.

Organized by Kunsthaus Bregenz and the Austrian Cultural Forum for KUB in NYC.

For more information about Kunsthaus Bregenz, please visit



20–21 April, 2006

A decade after his death, Manfredo Tafuri continues to occupy a pivotal position within contemporary architectural discourse both as a protagonist of the critical debates of the 1970s and as a historian who elucidated every period of architectural history from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. In addition to marking the publication of the English translation of his last work, INTERPRETING THE RENAISSANCE: PRINCES, CITIES, ARCHITECTURES, translated by Daniel Sherer (Yale University Press in association with Harvard GSD, 2006), this two-day conference took this event as an occasion for a new assessment of his critical legacies.

Participants included James Ackerman, Diana Agrest, Marco Biraghi, Jean-Louis Cohen, Preston Scott Cohen, Beatriz Colomina, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Deborah Howard, Carla Keyvanian, Andrew Leach, Diane Lewis, Reinhold Martin, Marco de Michelis, Joan Ockman, Antoine Picon, Alessandra Ponte, Mark Rakatansky, Bernardo Secchi, Daniel Sherer, Anthony Vidler, and Guido Zuliani.
Organized by Daniel Sherer, Columbia GSAPP/The Cooper Union
A conference Co-sponsored by Columbia GSAPP and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union

Landscape and Los Angeles

4 April 2006

Denis Cosgrove will present a lecture that deals with the picturesque, the garden city and urban form in L.A. as expressions of a landscape vision rooted in specific ideas of place and community.  In his own words, he describes his work as having “...evolved from a focus on the meanings of landscape in Human and Cultural Geography, especially as these have developed in the West since the fifteenth century, to a broader concern with the role of graphic images and representations in the making and communicating of geographical knowledge and imagination. My work explores the connections between Geography as a humanity and a formal discipline and imaginative expressions of geographical knowledge and experience in the visual arts including cartography."

Published books include:
Apollo's eye: a cartographic genealogy of the earth in the Western imagination (330pp. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001)
Mappings (Reaktion Books, London, 1999, ed.)
The Palladian landscape: geographical change and its cultural representations in sixteenth century Italy (270pp. Leicester University Press, 1993) trans. into Italian as Il paesaggio palladiano (Cierri, Verona, 2000)
The iconography of landscape: essays on the symbolic representation, design and use of past environments (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1988, ed. with S.Daniels) trans. into Japanese, 2001.
Social formation and symbolic landscape. (293pp. Croom Helm, London, 1984; 2nd ed.  University of Wisconsin Press, 1998)


The Feltman Lectures are made possible by the Ellen and Sidney Feltman Fund established at The Cooper Union to advance the principles and benefits of lighting design through the exploration of the practical, philosophical and aesthetic attributes of light and illumination.

Modern Museum Lighting

10 April 2006

In 1980, George Sexton established an office in Washington D.C. to provide consulting services in the areas of lighting design and museum design. His recent lighting projects include The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Herz Jesu Kirche in Munich. Recent commercial projects include the Hearst Tower and several retail venues for LVMH. Recent exhibition design projects include the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Since 1989, George Sexton Associates has maintained and staffed an office in England to manage the design requirements of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and to provide design services for the firm’s European projects.

Light and Space: 18 Works

24 April 2006

In 1993 Hervé Descottes established the lighting design and consulting firm L’Observatoire International in New York City. Emphasizing a collaborative effort, the firm provides lighting design to such disparate spatial expressions as architecture, urban, landscape, and fine art projects. Recent and current projects include Art Gallery of Ontario with Frank Gehry, Linked Hybrid with Steven Holl, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art with Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas and Mario Botta, Columbus Circle with Olin Partnership, and the Highline with Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and Field Operations. They have recently published a monograph entitled "Ultimate Lighting Design: Projects by Hervé Descottes/L’Observatoire International."


Each semester, a group of architecture student volunteers organizes a lecture series that is open to both faculty and students within The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. The volunteers solicit requests from their peers, and then use these recommendations to make invitations to potential lecturers. Notable speakers from recent semesters include Donald Bates and Peter Davidson of Lab Architecture, Paul Lewis of Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, and Bernard Tschumi, former dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University.