End of Year Exhibitions 2016-17

The 2017 End of Year Exhibition brought to fruition an important transition within The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Experiments in teaching, collaboration and new platforms were tested in this academic year, teasing out some of the challenging pedagogical questions that have been engulfing the school in a period of self-assessment. Within this context some new and some old collaborations emerged.

Professors Diane Lewis, David Gersten and Guido Zuliani joined forces for the fourth-year urbanism studio, inspecting the relationship between potential architectures that emerge from the grid of Manhattan. Latent connections that have been encrypted in its fabric were unearthed in many projects, reveling the malleability and profound flexibility that the grid provides in the context of the institutions it supports. On the tail end of fourth year, Cooper Union had the distinct fortune of being joined by visiting critics Robert Levit, Debora Mesa and Dan Wood, all of whom brought their intellectual projects to our community, testing out formal, urban and thematic areas of research that proved to be new terrain for the students. True to the ethos of the End of Year Exhibition, the students took on the leadership of creating the curatorial framework for the presentation of their work, with the first semester’s work being presented as large-scale wooden models, de rigeuer, re-creating the fabric of Manhattan block by block. In turn, the second semester was presented in its diversity of expression and exploration, with a wide manifestation of physical, digital and hand drawn work.

Alas, 2017 will be remembered for many things about its pedagogical transitions, but nothing can match the poignancy of this moment in the celebration and recognition of what Diane Lewis brought to the school, its pedagogy and the discipline of work that emerged under her wings. While many other aspects of the exhibition have also been remarkable, suffice it to say that we all pay tribute to Diane’s dedicated and disciplined commitment to the End of Year Exhibition itself – as an event – and despite her passing, the marks of her presence were in full view throughout the school.

Nader Tehrani, Dean


  • 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.