Fall 2021 Lectures and Events


Fall 2021 All School Assembly

Tuesday, August 31 at 1:00PM in The Great Hall 

Ala Younis: Battles in a Future Estate

Tuesday, September 7 at 12:00PM in 315F and Zoom [Watch Here] Visiting Lecture

Gary Bates: Make Make

Thursday, September 9 at 6:30PM in 315F and Zoom [Watch Here] Visiting Lecture 
Franco Purini: The Adventure of Drawing as “Writing About Building” Tuesday, September 21 at 12:00PM through Zoom  Exhibition Lecture
Matthew Soules — Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century Thursday, September 23 at 6:30PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Visiting Lecture and Book Launch

Arturo Escobar, ft. visuals by WAI Think Tank: Pluriversal Designing and the Re-earthing of Cities

Tuesday, September 28 at 12:00PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Pluriversal, Bewildered, and Otherwise Series in partnership with Radio Al Hara
Yung Ho Chang: Space, Structure, and Scenario Wednesday, September 29 at 1:00PM in 315F In-Class lecture
Jeannette Sordi — Landcycles: On Landscapes, Resources, and Infrastructures Thursday, September 30 at 6:30PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Student Lecture Series

Susannah Drake: The Geophysical City

Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30PM in 315F and Zoom
[Watch Here]

Visiting Lecture

Dredge Research Collaborative

Thursday, October 7 at 7:30PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Student Lecture Series
Miguel Robles-Duran— Cohabitation Strategies and Urban Front: Urban Practice After the Pandemic Tuesday, October 12 at 12:00PM in 315F and Zoom [Watch Here] Pluriversal, Bewildered, and Otherwise Series in partnership with Radio Al Hara
Sharon Prince and Louis C. Debaca, Grace Farms: What Can You Do to Combat Modern Slavery in the Built Environment? Continued...  Wednesday, October 13 at 6:00PM through Zoom In-Class Lecture 
T.J. Gottesdiener: The Complex Role of the Architect in the Transformation of the City Thursday, October 14 at 6:30PM in The Great Hall and Zoom [Watch Here] The YC Foundation Lecture
Oliver Lütjens and Thomas Padmanabhan: Houses and Housing Tuesday, October 19 at 12:00PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Visiting Lecture
Digital Fabrication Roundtable: Brandon Clifford, Fabio Gramazio, Mania Aghaei Meibodi, Wes McGee, Nader Tehrani Wednesday, October 20 at 6:30PM in the 3rd Floor Lobby and Zoom Panel
Peter Barber: 100 Mile City and Other Stories Thursday, October 21 at 12:00PM through Zoom  Current Work
Paulo Tavares: Settler-Modernism Thursday, October 21 at 6:30PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Student Lecture Series
Sigil Collective — Monuments of the Everyday: Condemned to Hope Tuesday, October 26 at 12:00PM in 315F and through Zoom [Watch Here] Pluriversal, Bewildered, and Otherwise Series in partnership with Radio Al Hara
Fabio Gramazio: Digital Materiality Tuesday, November 2 at 6:30PM in 315F and Zoom [Watch Here] Visiting Lecture
Michael Young: Reality Modeled After Images Thursday, November 4 at 7:00PM in Peter Cooper Suite Book Launch
Anne Lacaton, Jean-Phillippe Vassal, and Frédéric Druot Wednesday, November 10 at 7:00PM in The Great Hall and Zoom Current Work
Diana Agrest: The Wall and the Books Thursday, November 11 at 6:30PM in the Rose Auditorium [Watch Here] The Distinguished Irwin S. Chanin Faculty Lecture
Nicolas Dorval-Bory: Matter, Energy, and Other Oddities Friday, November 12 at 6:30PM through Zoom Student Lecture Series
Mpho Matsipha: Black Time and Spatial Futures Tuesday, November 16 at 12:00PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Pluriversal, Bewildered, and Otherwise Series in partnership with Radio Al Hara / The Fariba Tehrani Lecture Series
Joshua Ramus: Rethinking Flexibility Thursday, November 18 at 6:30PM through Zoom [Watch Here] Exhibition Lecture / The NADAAA Visiting Professor Lecture
Joyce Hwang: Architecture for the Collective Friday, November 19 at 6:30PM through Zoom  Student Lecture Series
Yasmeen Lari: Barefoot Social Architecture Benefiting People and the Planet Tuesday, December 7 at 7:00PM through Zoom Current Work
Guy Nordenson, Nat Oppenheimer, and Nader Tehrani in Conversation Wednesday, December 8 at 6:00PM in 315F and through Zoom In-Class lecture
Franco Purini: Exercises of Claustrophobia August 30 through September 26 in the Third Floor Hallway Gallery and Online. Lecture on 21 September
Mania Aghaei Meibodi and Wes McGee: Plastic Architecture October 7 through October 31 in the Third Floor Hallway Gallery
Joshua Ramus, REX: 8, 100 Tons November 9 through December 5 in the Third Floor Hallway Gallery

The Eleanore Pettersen Lecture Series

The Eleanore Pettersen Lecture, established through a generous gift to The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, is dedicated to the voices of women in architecture as a lasting tribute to Ms. Pettersen's significant impact in the world of architecture and her love of The Cooper Union. Pettersen, who had worked as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and would later design the post-White House home of Richard M. Nixon, was one of the first women to be licensed as an architect in New Jersey, and developed a successful practice there that spanned over fifty years.

Lectures in this series have been given by Toshiko Mori (2005), Phyllis Lambert (2006), Elizabeth Wright Ingraham (2008), Billie Tsien (2009), Francine Houben (2011), Sarah Wigglesworth (2013), and Farshid Moussavi (2014).

The Fariba Tehrani Lecture 

The Fariba Tehrani Lecture was initiated in honor of Biba Tehrani, whose decades-long commitment to education has served as a radical alternative to the very models of conventional pedagogies of which she is both beneficiary and victim. Her commitment to discursive interaction, speech, and oratory makes this endowment an apt tribute for her contributions to generations of students.

The YC Foundation Lecture

The YC Foundation, Inc., New York, makes grants for lectures in Architecture that inspire young architects to leadership through the experiences and stories of the lecturers.

Student Lecture Series 2021-22

Catalyzed by over a century of industrial externalities ignored for the sake of progress, profit, and control, the past decade has bestowed radical climatic shifts to the world we inhabit. In the past few months alone we have seen unprecedented droughts and unprecedented flooding. We watched in terror and awe as a gas leak fueled a fiery portal to hell in our seas, reminiscent of the numerous preceding spills. Waste has endlessly accumulated in our waters, in our foods, in our bodies. Extraction has decimated ecosystems, its perpetrators disappearing when the business model insists, leaving behind an earth hundreds of years removed from recovery.

Architecture, bowing to Industry, has resolved to write off these fundamental issues as externalities. Through drawing and analytical methods that abstract the consequences of building within an ecology, Architecture enforces an ignorant divorce of the built environment and the natural order, despite the urgent reality that this divorce is dooming us.

With a single line as sectional ground and serial lines as planimetric topography, the traditional methods of architectural drawing falsely conflate the simplicity of the paper with the reality of the world within which architecture ultimately exists. When architects do take the environment into consideration, it is often approached in a statistical manner that further disembodies the reality of living within an environment. The compartmentalization of reality into mathematical and quantitative formulas has allowed Architecture’s relation to the environment to be reduced to a machinelike function, relinquishing a continuous and living moral responsibility to the land and instead, handing good grades to architects that solve atomized technological equations. Similarly, architects of the capitalistic eco-imaginary (as Douglas Spencer puts it) use collage and rendering to peddle fantasy worlds of sustainability that avoid the real problems at hand, circumvent plausible solutions, and can only be achieved in their intangible dreams.  

It is clear that the architectural method, in its current methods of abstraction, needs reevaluation. Thus, questions must be raised: What is being left out? What is being ignored? What methods of analysis, representation, documentation, and integration does Architecture need to embrace to face our epoch? What are the modes and practices that allow us to marry questions of environment and architecture?

This year’s Student Lecture Series will culminate with the publication of a journal that allows for critical writings by students in response to the thematic statement as well as direct responses to the series’ lectures.

In Conversation Series

The primary purpose of the In Conversation Lecture Series (IC) is to engender discussion of timely issues and ideas among Cooper faculty and students. There is a time and place for the expert monologue, but IC is neither. A few times a semester, IC stages a dialogue between invited faculty members, through a process mediated by the active inquiry of a student audience. This translates to quick faculty presentations followed by a meaty question-and-answer based discussion led by student organizers and the audience. 

Current Work

Current Work is a lecture series co-sponsored with The Architectural League of New York featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art. The spring 2021 Current Work series examines some of the inherited histories, conventions, fabrics, and systems - often taken for granted - that constitute and shape the built environment. How might we reconsider the ways we engage with and construct the places that surround us? Speakers will address issues including transforming architectural pedagogy; protecting threatened historic sites; conserving resources by adapting existing buildings and reusing materials; and reimagining and regenerating places scarred by racism, neglect, and environmental emergencies.

  • 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.