Selected Undergraduate Design Studio Projects--Design III, Spring 2012



Professors David Turnbull, Hayley Eber, Urtzi Grau, Sam Anderson

For the spring semester everyone worked on the design of a school, on or near 125th Street in Harlem, engaging with the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy program. We identified three sites. One was too small, one too big, and one was just about the right size, but was next to the elevated Metro-North railroad line. Each site had specific challenges. The most compelling challenge for the students being the character and quality of the school itself, addressing the needs of children and families living in Harlem, providing free support for the children and families in the form of parenting workshops, a pre-school program and child-oriented health programs. Defining the spatial and material consequences of this combination of Educational and Civic programming is a prerequisite, elaborating it as architecture is the real obligation.



  • 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.