The Foundation Building opened in 1859 and marked the creation of The Cooper Union. The building—today a New York City landmark—quickly became a common meeting place for intellectuals, inventors, tinkerers, and people from across the social strata. At the time of its erection, the Foundation Building was one of the tallest in lower Manhattan. Peter Cooper required that it include a cylindrical shaft between floors in anticipation of an elevator—a device that had not yet been uninvented. But perhaps its greatest feature is the Great Hall.
For more on the architectural history of the Foundation Building see the website that accompanied the exhibition Architecture at Cooper: 1859 - 2009.