Research Access

Research Access Policies
Revised: July, 2016

The mission of the Architecture Archive is to record the history of the School of Architecture’s pedagogy by documenting student work, to provide students with research resources that augment and enhance their architectural education, and to produce informative architecture and design-related exhibitions and publications.

In 1970 John Hejduk and Roger Canon, AR’70, established a methodology to document student work for the publication Education of An Architect: A Point of View, which coincided with an exhibition of the same name held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971. Supported by a recommendation of the 1980 National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) Visiting Team, the Archive was established in 1983, and officially became a department of the School of Architecture in 1991, with Kim Shkapich, A'80, as its first Director. Steven Hillyer, AR’90, is the current Director.

A key goal of the Architecture Archive is to make its distinctive collections widely accessible to researchers, and the Archive encourages and supports the use of its collections for scholarship and research.

All researchers interested in obtaining on-site access to the Archive's material must submit a completed Research Request Form prior to scheduling an appointment. Request forms should be submitted at least 2 weeks in advance of the proposed appointment date. After the request has been approved by the Archive's Director, the Collection Assistant will coordinate scheduling with the researcher.

Location & Hours
    The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive
    The Cooper Union Foundation Building
    7 East 7th Street, Room 235
    New York, NY 10003

    Access Hours
    Academic Year:                           Monday - Friday, 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Summer (June, July, August)    Monday - Thursday, 10:00am - 5:00pm

General Policies
•    All researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Architecture Archive, its officers, and employees from and against all claims and actions arising out of the researcher's use of the documents.
•    Researchers agree to provide the Architecture Archive with two copies of any published material resulting from or citing the Archive's records.
•    Infringement of Archive policies and conditions may result in the withdrawal of access.
•    Researchers will be encouraged to complete a brief Exit Survey at the close of their work, the results of which will help improve the Archive's policies and accessibility.

Copyrights, Rights & Restrictions
•    Researchers must obtain the Archive's permission, via a Reproduction Terms & Conditions Agreement, prior to reproducing any of the Archive's material for distribution or publication.

•    All citations in published materials must include appropriate artist/authorship information and the following credit line: Courtesy of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive, The Cooper Union

Reading Area
•    Researchers should check all bags / backpacks with the Archive's Collections Assistant.
•    No food or beverages are allowed in the Reading Area of the Archive.
•    Smoking is not permitted in the building.
•    Researchers will be provided with no. 2 pencils for taking notes.
•    Ink pens or markers are not permitted in the Reading Area.
•    Laptop computers are permissible; however researchers should leave their computer cases with the Collections Assistant.
•    WiFi is available in the Reading Area.
•    Use of cell phones is prohibited in the Archive Reading Area, and ringers should be switched off while in the Archive.
•    The use of portable scanners or digital cameras (including smartphone cameras) is not permitted.
•    No material may leave the Archive under any circumstances.
•    Archive staff reserve the right to inspect all research material and personal articles before the researcher leaves the Archive.
Material Handling
•    Researchers should wash their hands before examining collections material.
•    Researchers are responsible for the careful handling of all requested material.
•    Researchers should not lean on, write on, fold, or trace over any material.
•    Book supports will be provided by the Collections Assistant.
•    If items require special handling, the Collections Assistant will provide specific instructions.
•    Only one box or book per researcher is allowed on the table at a time.
•    If a researcher has requested more boxes or books, these can be brought to the table once the previous item has been returned.
•    The proper order of manuscripts within file folders, portfolios, and boxes must be maintained.
•    Archival paper strips for placeholders will be provided by the Collections Assistant.
•    One folder at a time should be removed from its box, examined, and then returned to the box before the next folder is removed.
•    While handling photographs or negatives not sleeved in Mylar, researchers are required to wear cotton gloves provided by the Assistant.
•    Researchers should not remove photographs or drawings from their mats.  
•    Researchers are encouraged to bring to the attention of the Collections Assistant all items in need of repair, misfiled materials, and discrepancies in cataloging or identification of materials.

Reference Services, Use & Reproduction
•    The Archive is in the process of creating collection finding aids, however inventories and indices are available for each collection and will be provided to researchers along with any other relevant discovery tools.
•    The Collections Assistant will be available to field queries and to assist researchers in locating records.
•    Permission to examine collections material does not automatically include the right to photocopy or scan records.
•    After completing an On-Site Research Reproduction Agreement researchers may request photocopies or scans of collections material.
•    The Archive may decline a request for photocopies because the material is oversized, too fragile, or subject to rights restrictions.
•    Reproduction fees may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
•    The Archive offers a limited photographic reproduction service. Researchers may arrange to obtain prints of photographs in the Archive collections for which The Cooper Union holds the copyright. Fees are contingent on availability of negatives, turn-around time, and print size, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Digital scans of photographs can be provided by Archives staff contingent on the size of the request and staff availability.


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  • “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.”

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  • 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.