Nora Akawi

Assistant Professor

Nora Akawi is an architect based in New York. She is Assistant Professor of Architecture at The Cooper Union. Her research, curatorial, and pedagogical practice aims to reconsider the geographies and languages represented in contemporary repertoires of architecture education, both within and outside of the academy. More specifically, her work lies at the intersections of architecture with spatial justice, displacements, erasure and collective memory—drawing from migration and border studies, mapping practices, and archive theory.
 
Prior to joining The Cooper Union, Nora taught urban design and history/theory at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University. In 2012, she joined Columbia GSAPP and the Columbia Global Centers as Director of Studio-X Amman, a platform dedicated to advancing critical discourse in architecture in the Arab world through public programming, educational, exhibition and publishing projects.

Most recently, Nora co-curated Friday Sermon, the Bahrain Pavilion exhibition in the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice, and is curator of Al Majhoola Min Al-Ard (This Land’s Unknown) at the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans 2019. She is co-editor of the books Friday Sermon (Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, 2018) and Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2016). Recent publications include “Mapping Borderlands: Drawing From the Jawlan” in GTA Papers 2: War Zones (ETH Zürich, 2019), and “Worlding From the South” in Manifesta 12: Palermo Atlas, (OMA / Humboldt Books, 2018).

Nora is a graduate of the Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture program at Columbia University (MS.CCCP 2011).

  • 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.”

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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.