The Cooper Union
School of Architecture


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Co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York



Presented by the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter; Architectural League of New York; Design Trust for Public Space; Fine Arts Federation; Friends of the High Line; The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Municipal Art Society; New York New Visions; Regional Plan Association

Monday, December 3, 2007
6:00–8:30 p.m.
The Great Hall, Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York City
Free admission, no reservations required

Even in an era of large-scale real estate ventures, the proposed development of the West Side Rail Yards is an enormous undertaking, with equally enormous implications for the future of New York. On October 11, 2007, five developers submitted responses to a Request For Proposals issued by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for development of both the Eastern and Western Rail Yards, the largest undeveloped tract of land in Manhattan. Zoning on the overall site allows 12 million square feet of combined residential and commercial development; the RFP also requires that space be allotted for a public school and community and cultural organizations. The MTA expects to select a developer for the site in the first quarter of 2008; after conditional approval by the MTA board, the selected proposal will proceed through the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

On Monday evening, December 3, representatives of the design teams for the proposals will present their schemes in a public program co-sponsored by a group of architecture and civic organizations. This is the first public program at which these proposals will be presented.

Architectural teams and developers are as follows: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Field Operations, Thomas Phifer and Partners, SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA, Handel Architects (Brookfield Properties LLC, developer); Steven Holl Architects (Extell Development Company, developer); FXFOWLE and Pelli Clarke Pelli (Hudson Center East LLC and Hudson Center West LLC, joint venture of Vornado Realty Trust and The Durst Organization, Inc., developer); Kohn Pedersen Fox, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Arquitectonica (The Related Companies, developer); Murphy/Jahn Architects, PWP-Peter Walker and Partners (TS West Side holding, LLC, joint venture of Tishman Speyer and Morgan Stanley, developer).

Proposals are currently on view in an exhibition presented by the MTA:
Public Viewing of Rail Yards Bid Proposals
335 Madison Avenue (northwest corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and 43rd Street)
Across from Grand Central Terminal
Daily 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., through December 3


Reimagining Risk: Buildings and Fear
David Childs and Joel Sanders
November 15

What is the design response to increasing demands for secure buildings and pervasive fears of insecurity? Should designers expose or disguise hardened buildings? What are the practical, social, cultural, political, and moral issues that design must face in a world seen as at risk?

David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has been dealing with these issues in the fishbowl of the World Trade Center site, where he designed Seven World Trade Center and is the architect of the Freedom Tower. He has also confronted them in his terms as Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission and Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C.

Architect Joel Sanders has been dealing with the tension between security and public access in his work with the First Impressions program of the General Services Administration.

Reimagining Risk: Indefensible Space: The Architecture of the National Insecurity State, a panel discussion
Michael Sorkin with Christine Boyer, Teddy Cruz, and Cindi Katz
November 20

A panel discussion on Indefensible Space: The Architecture of the National Insecurity State, a new book edited by Michael Sorkin that examines how post-9/11 paranoia and demands for security are, paradoxically, leading to ever more insecurity, as physical barriers, increased surveillance, and anxiety erode public space. Joining Michael Sorkin will be Christine Boyer, Teddy Cruz, and Cindi Katz, contributors of the essays: “Urban Operations and Network Centric Warfare;” “Border Tours: Strategies of Surveillance, Tactics of Encroachment;” and “Me and My Monkey: What’s Hiding in the Security State.”



(left) Nomadic Museum NY, New York: Michael Moran
(right) Center Pompidou Metz, France: Shigeru Ban Architects Europe

Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban Architects
Tuesday, January 22
7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall,
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

The 2007–08 Franzen Lecture on Architecture and the Environment, an annual invited lecture by an international figure whose work has significant implications for understanding and reconceiving the relationship between architecture and the environment, will be delivered by Shigeru Ban. The annual lecture was created in  honor of long-time League trustee Ulrich Franzen.  Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s innovative work tests the limits of structure and form. Often based on  elements derived from traditional Japanese architecture, his firm’s designs are ecologically sensitive and flexibly programmed, from quickly constructed temporary paper structures to modular, reconfigurable galleries and pavilions to  permanent urban structures. Recent and current work includes the Nomadic Museum; the Seikei Library; Papertainer Museum, Seoul; Nicolas G. Hayek Center, Tokyo; the Metal Shutter Houses; and the Pompidou Center – Metz.

Reservations begin January 2

Current Work: Steven Holl
Steven Holl Architects
Thursday, February 21
7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall,
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

New York architect Steven Holl’s diverse commissions are unified by his philosophy that “Architecture does not so much intrude on the landscape as it serves to explain it.” His designs offer a nuanced experience of unfolding space, demonstrating architecture’s “potential to shape experience, interrelating body, brain, and world.” His firm’s recent buildings range from a small single family house in upstate New York to the 250,000 square meter Linked Hybrid residential housing and mixed-use complex in Beijing, and in scope from the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park in Connecticut to the much heralded addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, which opened this year.

Reservations begin February 4


Admission to Architectural League co-sponsored events is free for Cooper Union faculty, students, alumni, and League members and $10 for non-members. League members may make reservations for themselves and a guest by emailing or by calling 212.980.3767. AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available. For more information, visit, email, or call 212.753.1722 x13.





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 Charles Jencks, Alberto Perez–Gomez, and Stan Allen.






Lectures 2006–07
Lectures 2005–06
Lectures 2004–05
Lectures 2003–04
Lectures 2002–03