School of Architecture Students and Faculty Participate in IdeasCity 2017

September 28, 2017

IdeasCity is a civic platform of the New Museum in New York, based on the premise that art and culture are essential to the future viability of cities. The biennial started in 2011, and then followed in 2013 and 2015 with a week of lectures, activities and built structures. In 2017, the event culminated a two-year cycle of global residencies in Detroit, Athens and Arles with its biennial program IdeasCity New York. This free and public event, which took place on September 16, 2017 at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, was themed around “100 Actions for the Future City.” The program consisted of a daylong investigation of strategies, ideas and propositions featuring artist talks, initiatives led by local organizations, performances, workshops and a mayoral panel.

IdeasCity Build

This year, The Cooper Union School of Architecture contributed to the program through the realization of a collaborative effort to fabricate one solid structure that represents ideals for the public space of the future city. Flexible, adaptable, transformable, where multiple things can happen, the structure is based on the idea of community as the sum of many different parts that together form a larger entity. This project also serves as a blank canvas where culture, art and people transform an empty pocket in the urban fabric into a living public space.

Led by Assistant Professor Lorena Del Rio, groups of student volunteers fabricated segments of a design for a stepped seating environment that, when fully assembled, is circular in plan. The assembly of each element utilized casters – on the day of the IdeasCity event, students transported the pieces from The Cooper Union to Sara D. Roosevelt Park, where they were assembled and used as part of the program.

This effort was made possible through a donation of materials by Le Noble Lumber.

  • 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.