Screening | THE MAKING OF AN AVANT-GARDE: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies 1967-1984

Tuesday, November 21, 2023, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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The Making of an Avant-Garde


The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, founded in 1967 with close ties to the Museum of Modern Art, made New York the global center for architectural debate and critically redefined architectural discourse in the United States and beyond. A place of immense energy and effervescence, its founders and participants were young and hardly known at the time but would ultimately shape architectural practice and theory for decades. Agrest's film documents and explores the Institute's fertile beginnings and enduring significance as a locus for the avant-garde. The film, presents the creation and existence of the IAUS in the architectural, cultural, and political climate of the time, from the anti War riots, the Women's Movement to the Paris May 68 revolution and the crime ridden and bankrupt New York City, through rich and abundant footage portraying the period.

The story is told through Diana Agrest's own archival footage that brings to life the spirit of the place, and which is the only footage of the IAUS in existence, and the voice of people- through twenty five new interviews- that were active participants and leaders telling compelling stories about the place and about their own personal experiences, stories by the most renowned architects today, that were never made public before.

The film features Peter Eisenman, Diana Agrest, Kenneth Frampton, Mario Gandelsonas, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey, Emilio Ambasz, Anthony Vidler, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Deborah Berke, Suzanne Stephens, Bernard Tschumi, Joan Ockman, who were active participants of the IAUS among others, as well as views from outside such as Mark Wigley, Paul Lewis, Lucia Allais.

This event will take place in room 315F. 

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • 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.