41 Cooper Square



A stacked vertical piazza, organized around a central atrium to encourage social exchange

Posted: Feb 22nd, 2009 / Last Edited: Oct 20th, 2014 Print

Description

  • 41 Cooper Square, the new academic building for The Cooper Union, aspires to manifest the character, culture and vibrancy of both the 150 year-old institution and of the city in which it was founded. Dedicated to Peter Cooper’s vision that education leads to civic, cultural and practicable enrichment, the institution has subsequently grown to become a renowned intellectual and cultural center for the City of New York. 41 Cooper Square aspires to reflect the institution’s stated goal to create an iconic building – one that reflects its values and aspirations as a center for advanced and innovative education in Art, Architecture and Engineering.

    Internally, the building is conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building. This vertical piazza is the social heart of the building, providing a place for impromptu and planned meetings, student gatherings, lectures, and for the intellectual debate that defines the academic environment.

    From the double-high entry lobby, the grand stair ascends four stories to terminate in a glazed double-high student lounge overlooking the city. On the fifth through ninth floors, sky lobbies and meeting places—including a student lounge, seminar rooms, lockers, and seating areas overlooking the cityscape—are organized around the central atrium. Sky bridges span the atrium to create connections between these informal spaces. Further reinforcement of the strategy to create a vibrant intellectual space is provided by the “skip-stop” circulation strategy which allows for both increased physical activity and for more impromptu meeting opportunities. The primary skip-stop elevators, which make stops at the first, fifth and eighth floors, encourage occupants to use the grand stairs and sky bridges. Secondary elevators stop at each floor, both for ADA compliance and for the practical tasks of moving materials, artworks, and equipment.

    In the spirit of the institution’s dedication to free, open and accessible education, the building itself is symbolically open to the city. Visual transparencies and accessible public spaces connect the institution to the physical, social and cultural fabric of its urban context. At street level, the transparent facade invites the neighborhood to observe and to take part in the intensity of activity contained within. Many of the public functions - an exhibition gallery, board room and a two-hundred-seat auditorium - are easily accessible one level below grade.

    The building reverberates with light, shadow and transparency via a high performance exterior double skin whose semi-transparent layer of perforated stainless steel wraps the building’s glazed envelope to provide critical interior environmental control, while also allowing for transparencies to reveal the creative activity occurring within. Responding to its urban context, the sculpted facade establishes a distinctive identity for Cooper Square. The building’s corner entry lifts up to draw people into the lobby in a deferential gesture towards the institution’s historic Foundation Building. The façade registers the iconic, curving profile of the central atrium as a glazed figure that appears to be carved out of the Third Avenue façade, connecting the creative and social heart of the building to the street.

    41 Cooper Square is the first LEED-certified academic laboratory building in New York City. With a Platinum rating, the project's advanced green building initiatives include:

    • An operable building skin made of perforated stainless steel panels offset from a glass and aluminum window wall. The panels reduce the impact of heat radiation during the summer and insulate interior spaces during the winter.

    • Radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels introduce innovative HVAC technology that will boost energy efficiency. This contributes to making the new building 40 percent more energy efficient than a standard building of its type.

    • A full-height atrium enables unique circulation for building occupants, improves the flow of air and provides increased interior day lighting.

    • Seventy-five percent of the building’s regularly occupied spaces are lit by natural daylight.

    • A green roof insulates the building, reduces city “heat island” effect, storm water runoff and pollutants; harvested water is reused.

    • A cogeneration plant provides additional power to the building, recovers waste heat and effectively cuts energy costs.

    • Flexible state-of-the-art laboratories, studios and classrooms are specifically designed to accommodate pedagogical objectives, as well as current and future research activities.

    This aggregation of progressive green building initiatives combines with the building’s social spaces and urban connectivity to support Cooper Union in advancing its legacy of innovative ideas, cross-disciplinary knowledge, and creative practices well into the future.

    Time-lapse video of 41 Cooper Square construction:
  • 41 Cooper Square, the new academic building for The Cooper Union, aspires to manifest the character, culture and vibrancy of both the 150 year-old institution and of the city in which it was founded. Dedicated to Peter Cooper’s vision that education leads to civic, cultural and practicable enrichment, the institution has subsequently grown to become a renowned intellectual and cultural center for the City of New York. 41 Cooper Square aspires to reflect the institution’s stated goal to create an iconic building – one that reflects its values and aspirations as a center for advanced and innovative education in Art, Architecture and Engineering.

    Internally, the building is conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building. This vertical piazza is the social heart of the building, providing a place for impromptu and planned meetings, student gatherings, lectures, and for the intellectual debate that defines the academic environment.

    From the double-high entry lobby, the grand stair ascends four stories to terminate in a glazed double-high student lounge overlooking the city. On the fifth through ninth floors, sky lobbies and meeting places—including a student lounge, seminar rooms, lockers, and seating areas overlooking the cityscape—are organized around the central atrium. Sky bridges span the atrium to create connections between these informal spaces. Further reinforcement of the strategy to create a vibrant intellectual space is provided by the “skip-stop” circulation strategy which allows for both increased physical activity and for more impromptu meeting opportunities. The primary skip-stop elevators, which make stops at the first, fifth and eighth floors, encourage occupants to use the grand stairs and sky bridges. Secondary elevators stop at each floor, both for ADA compliance and for the practical tasks of moving materials, artworks, and equipment.

    In the spirit of the institution’s dedication to free, open and accessible education, the building itself is symbolically open to the city. Visual transparencies and accessible public spaces connect the institution to the physical, social and cultural fabric of its urban context. At street level, the transparent facade invites the neighborhood to observe and to take part in the intensity of activity contained within. Many of the public functions - an exhibition gallery, board room and a two-hundred-seat auditorium - are easily accessible one level below grade.

    The building reverberates with light, shadow and transparency via a high performance exterior double skin whose semi-transparent layer of perforated stainless steel wraps the building’s glazed envelope to provide critical interior environmental control, while also allowing for transparencies to reveal the creative activity occurring within. Responding to its urban context, the sculpted facade establishes a distinctive identity for Cooper Square. The building’s corner entry lifts up to draw people into the lobby in a deferential gesture towards the institution’s historic Foundation Building. The façade registers the iconic, curving profile of the central atrium as a glazed figure that appears to be carved out of the Third Avenue façade, connecting the creative and social heart of the building to the street.

    41 Cooper Square is the first LEED-certified academic laboratory building in New York City. With a Platinum rating, the project's advanced green building initiatives include:

    • An operable building skin made of perforated stainless steel panels offset from a glass and aluminum window wall. The panels reduce the impact of heat radiation during the summer and insulate interior spaces during the winter.

    • Radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels introduce innovative HVAC technology that will boost energy efficiency. This contributes to making the new building 40 percent more energy efficient than a standard building of its type.

    • A full-height atrium enables unique circulation for building occupants, improves the flow of air and provides increased interior day lighting.

    • Seventy-five percent of the building’s regularly occupied spaces are lit by natural daylight.

    • A green roof insulates the building, reduces city “heat island” effect, storm water runoff and pollutants; harvested water is reused.

    • A cogeneration plant provides additional power to the building, recovers waste heat and effectively cuts energy costs.

    • Flexible state-of-the-art laboratories, studios and classrooms are specifically designed to accommodate pedagogical objectives, as well as current and future research activities.

    This aggregation of progressive green building initiatives combines with the building’s social spaces and urban connectivity to support Cooper Union in advancing its legacy of innovative ideas, cross-disciplinary knowledge, and creative practices well into the future.

    Time-lapse video of 41 Cooper Square construction:
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Sustainability

  • Site
    • Cooper Union’s initial choice and treatment of the site for the new building demonstrates the school’s extraordinary commitment to sustainability:
    • Re-building on an existing plot in Manhattan, rather than expanding to an outlying site
    • Safe removal of asbestos, and other toxins and pollutants from the existing building and site
    • Recycling of demolished building materials to the extent possible

    Exterior Double Skin
    • The window wall system enclosing the building is wrapped with a second skin of perforated metal panels, which improves the building’s performance by:
    • Controlling sunlight penetration, to reduce the influx of heat radiation during summer
    • Serving as a “coat” in cold weather, to reduce energy loss and as an “umbrella” in hot weather, to reduce energy loss

    Exterior double skin of perforated metal



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  • Site
    • Cooper Union’s initial choice and treatment of the site for the new building demonstrates the school’s extraordinary commitment to sustainability:
    • Re-building on an existing plot in Manhattan, rather than expanding to an outlying site
    • Safe removal of asbestos, and other toxins and pollutants from the existing building and site
    • Recycling of demolished building materials to the extent possible

    Exterior Double Skin
    • The window wall system enclosing the building is wrapped with a second skin of perforated metal panels, which improves the building’s performance by:
    • Controlling sunlight penetration, to reduce the influx of heat radiation during summer
    • Serving as a “coat” in cold weather, to reduce energy loss and as an “umbrella” in hot weather, to reduce energy loss

    Exterior double skin of perforated metal


    Radiant Ceiling Panels
    • Hot and cold water run through radiant ceiling panels to modulate the building temperature. This advanced heating and cooling system provides:
    • energy savings
    • improved occupant comfort


    Cogeneration Plant
    • This equipment transfers any excessive heat produced by the building into electrical energy, which is then sent back to the grid, resulting in substantial cost savings.


    Green Roof
    • Roof gardens and terraces are irrigated exclusively with rainwater, collected in tanks.
    • In addition to providing outdoor recreation spaces, the water-efficient roof landscape will offer two major ecological assets to New York City:
    • Mitigation of the “heat island” effect by replacing a part of the paved cityscape with cooling green space
    • Reduction of the flow of storm water into New York’s sewers


    Landscaping on green roof


    Recycled or Renewable Finishes & Materials
    • A large potion of the building will be executed with renewable and recycled materials and finishes. The targets for sustainable materials include:
    • 15% materials with recycled content
    • Interior finishes with significant recycled content, such as recycled resins and glass terrazzo
    • 2.5% rapidly renewable materials and finishes, such as bamboo veneer & plywood, and rubber flooring
    • 20% regionally manufactured materials
    • Superior materials with a long lifespan
    • Materials that can be easily maintained and cleaned with a low chemical impact, using just soap and water


    Air Quality
    Several features provide a high quality of air throughout the building:
    • Advanced fume hoods in lab spaces, which optimize air quality while minimizing energy loss
    • Air-changes that frequently circulate air
    • Low emission building materials and finishes (such as paints, adhesives & sealants)

    Storm Water Retention
    • A system of tanks collects and stores storm water, mitigating the excessive flow of water into city sewers during heavy rains.
    • During the summer, when students are on vacation, the storm water is used to irrigate the roof garden.
    • During the rest of the year, when school is in session, the water is used for the flushing of toilets.


    75% Daylit Building
    • Approximately 75% of the building’s occupiable space will be lit naturally with daylight, which will:
    • Significantly reduce the need for artificial light
    • Increase energy savings
    • Improve user comfort


    Daylit interior space


    Alternate Transportation
    • Various features will encourage the use of alternate, non-polluting modes of transportation:
    • Bicycle storage and changing rooms with showers
    • Parking spaces for low-emission and clean air vehicles


    Energy Model
    • The design team has calculated the energy performance of the new Cooper building, as compared to a baseline building (a standard sustainable building of the same type and size).
    • The Cooper building’s energy performance rates approximately 35% higher than the baseline building.
    • The team has made each design decision with the goal of upholding this high standard of sustainability.
    Commissioning
    • The intent of the commissioning process is to verify that the building’s energy-related systems are installed, calibrated and perform according _to the project requirements and basis of design, to optimize:
    • sustainable performance
    • energy and cost savings
    • occupant comfort


    LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
    • The new building is targeting to receive a Platinum LEED Rating – superior to any other lab building in New York. This standard of environmental excellence is difficult to achieve in a building that houses laboratories, which typically consume high levels of energy.
    • LEED Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.
    • This rating demonstrates and rewards the Cooper Union’s commitment to sustainability.


    Skip-stop Elevators
    • Elevators stop on the 5th and 8th floors at sky lobbies - neighboring floors are accessible through local stairways.
    • Skip-stop elevators create unique lobbies for social interaction and encourage exercise through greater use of stairs.
    • Handicapped access elevators stopping at every floor are also available.

    Skip stop-stair diagram Interior view of atrium with skip-stop stairs visible


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Details

Location:
41 Cooper Square, New York City, New York, United States of America 10003
Client:
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Site Area:
0.4 acres / 0.2 hectares
Size:
175,000 gross sq ft / 16,258 gross sq m
Program:
Academic and laboratory building with exhibition gallery, auditorium, lounge and multi-purpose space, and retail space
Design:
2004 - 2006
Construction:
2006 - 2009
Type:
  • Educational

Project Credits

Collaborators
Consultants
Associate Architect
Structural Engineer
Project Management / Owner's Representative
Construction Manager
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