high line

New York's High Line, designed in part by Elizabeth Diller AR'79 and Ricardo Scofidio AR'55

Cooper alumni Elizabeth Diller AR’79 and Ricardo Scofidio AR’55 are two of the principal architects behind the High Line, one of the most celebrated New York landmarks of the last 20 years. Originally an industrial rail line that ran from 14th to 34th streets beginning in the 1930s, the elevated track of this structure had been largely abandoned to nature by the 1980s. The organization “Friends of the High Line” joined forces with the City of New York to select a design team to revive and reclaim the space, and in 2004 a Steering Committee of representatives from both groups selected the team of James Corner Field Operations, Piet Oudolf , and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Diller and Scofidio, already well-known for their inventive and environmentally-sensitive designs, set out to create multiple eco-systems that respected the park’s past as both an industrial site and a natural one. Lines of precast concrete reminiscent of the rail lines that once ran here transform into walkways, which at points are subsumed by gardens of local flora. The architects describe their design as one that “addresses a multitude of civic issues: reclamation of unclaimed public space, adaptive reuse of outmoded infrastructure, and preservation as a strategy for sustainability. The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social.”



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  • 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.”

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  • 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.