A Message from the Acting Dean: Spring is Coming...

POSTED ON: December 16, 2022

Final Review Photo

Dear Cooper Community:

As we wrap up another intense, rigorous, and inspiring semester, I would like to take a moment to extend my warmest gratitude to all of you—students, faculty, and staff—whose contributions across all facets of the school have been nothing less than extraordinary.

Although we continue to grapple with the complexities of the tridemic, both immediate and ongoing, we are undeniably back! Studios and workshops are packed with a renewed and rejuvenated commitment to our strong traditions of design and craft, and there is no doubt that the recent Model Behavior exhibition has inspired and percolated into our pedagogy through the proliferation of models, maquettes, miniatures, and mock-ups. We look forward to the exhibition Vkhutemas: Laboratory of the Avant-Garde, 1920-30, opening at the start of the spring semester. The presentation will highlight over a decade of research on this little-known school and its pedagogical legacy by faculty member Anna Bokov, and will include analytical work by students from two seminar courses and a workshop she recently taught in the School of Architecture.

As we continually expand and elevate our public programming, this year’s lecture series, Architectures of Transition, curated by Professor Elisa Iturbe, has been a catalyst for thinking about how our discipline needs to transform and address the climate emergency. Through a series of provocative lectures and discussions, architecture has been brought into dialogue with energy and power to reimagine our vocabulary of spatial and formal alternatives. The series will continue in the spring and culminate in the exhibition Confronting Carbon Form and related symposia, providing a renewed focus towards an equitable and responsible carbon-free future.

The Student Lecture Series also brought diverse voices and perspectives into the school, including those of Matthew Waxman, Rubén Polendo, Michael Abel, and Nile Greenberg. We are enormously grateful to Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown for their continued and generous support of this student-led endeavor.

I am thrilled to share that two of our full-time faculty members, Lydia Kallipoliti and Michael Young, have been granted tenure. Both are a vital part of our program and bring incredible intellectual energy to the school through their significant scholarly and design work, exemplary teaching, and dedicated service to the school. Please join me in congratulating them as we celebrate their formidable presence and ongoing contributions to our academic life.

This year we continued an institutional dialogue with the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy through the Third Floor Hallway Gallery exhibition At the Intersection of Ideas and Material Conditions, a presentation of faculty work from the Academy. The Hallway Gallery also showcased two exhibitions by visiting faculty in the fourth-year optional design studios. Beyond the Frame—Situ Research presented the work of Brad Samuels AR’05 and his colleagues, highlighting their approach to human rights and environmental justice through spatial studies and analysis across multiple scales. Flow State highlighted twenty-three in-progress and completed projects by Dominic Leong’s firm Leong Leong over the past thirteen years.

As we look ahead to the second half of this academic year, we are excited to be part of some new collaborations in the spring: an exhibition partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a symposium and book project with Storefront for Art and Architecture, participation in the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, and engagement with Women’s Home Preservation Fund, a foundation dedicated to overcoming decades of redlining injustice in Baltimore. I look forward to sharing more information about these efforts with you in the new year.

Recently, through the stewardship of some big-hearted friends, we have created and launched two important endowments. First, the Zeke Endowment, generously supported by Jesse Reiser AR’81 and Nanako Umemoto AR’83 in memory of their son, Zeke Reiser, to facilitate academic initiatives related to creative writing, philosophy, and music. And second, the launch of the John Q. Hejduk Endowment, generously established through a foundational gift by our recent Dean, Nader Tehrani. This endowment will generate an annual stipend that supports exemplary architecture faculty engaging in practice, scholarship, teaching, or research that supports diverse voices, ethnicities, trajectories, and communities. As we reflect together on the past year and the year yet to unfold, we hope that you will honor The Cooper Union with a year-end gift to support these initiatives or the ongoing effort to return to full tuition scholarships.

At this distinctive moment in Cooper’s history, I continue to be infinitely grateful for the opportunity to lead the school and, on a daily basis, for the relationships I have been able to establish with students, faculty, administration, and members of the larger community. In the semester ahead, I look forward to working collaboratively as we engage issues and one another across all scales of the built and natural environment, fueled by ambition, optimism, and creativity.

Happy Holidays to you all, and Happy New Year!

Hayley Eber, Acting 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.