Diller Scofidio + Renfro chosen by Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum to help with Expansion

June 28, 2012

Cooper Union Stock Photo

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architectural firm responsible for the redevelopment of Lincoln Center and the city's High Line, has been chosen to design the gallery and visitor experience at New York's remodeled Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The firm's founding partners Elizabeth Diller (AR'79) and Ricardo Scofidio (AR'55) are both alumni of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

The renovations of the museum’s Carnegie Mansion are part of a $64-million capital campaign. "This project gives Cooper-Hewitt the opportunity to re-invent itself, to rethink museum conventions and the entire museum 'visit,'" Caroline Baumann, associate director of the museum, told the New York Times Arts Beat blog. "We’re delighted to be working with DS+R and Local Projects in creating a distinctly contemporary vision that will serve as a model for a new type of museum." While the renovations are underway, Cooper-Hewitt is offering exhibitions and programs at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center in Harlem, the Enid and Lester Morse Historic Design Lecture Series at the University Club, and elsewhere. The museum on East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue is scheduled to re-open in 2014.

The firm also recently designed Columbia University's Medical Center's Medical and Graduate Education Building. Visible from nearby George Washington Bridge and Riverside Park, the 14-story tower will become a major landmark in the skyline of northern Manhattan, with a south-facing multi-story glass façade punctuated by jutting floorplates and exposed interior spaces. Columbia University's Medical Center recently unveiled the plans for the new tower.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.