Cooper Union - Conceiving the Plan, Nuance and Intimacy in Civic Space


In a series of post-2020 civic architecture projects for different sites, Conceiving the Planinaugurates a dialogue with the legacy of the late architect and longtime Cooper Union Professor Diane Lewis AR’76. It asks the following questions: How can civic spaces be imbued with nuance? In what ways does such a quality persist in the city? Can one discuss intimacy in architectural terms? In her built and unbuilt works, teaching, and writing, Diane Lewis upheld the capacity of architecture to profoundly and intimately embody our collective life. For Lewis, the city was not only the result of a great number of inextricable historical strata of form and memory, it was also a proposition about a moral and ethical life together. She approached the city as a mental universe all its own, greater than the sum of its individual architectures. Her unique presence—her unmistakable voice—is among the most characteristic distillations of the architectural “message” of The Cooper Union from the 1970s to the mid-2010s.

For this exhibition, architects, former students, colleagues, and friends have generated comprehensive projects for civic space engaging Lewis’ pedagogy, carrying her legacy into contemporary dialogues. They touch on critical questions—literary, ecological, social, and metahistorical—providing and provoking spatial civic identities. Thus, they are also inseparable from deeply involved critical approaches to architectural pedagogy.

Projects include Angel Alley by David Turnbull; The City in the House byPreston Scott Cohen, Harvard University; Healing Object: Unmasking Novel Domestic Urbanism byMersiha Veledar AR’03, The Cooper Union; Landscape as a Support byDieter Dietz, Teresa Cheung, Patricia Guaita, Lucia Jalon Oyarzun, Ruben Valdez, and Daniel Zamarbide, ALICE EPFL; Parasituation [Edinburgh] Waverley Gardens by Dorian Wiszniewski, Kevin Adams, Neil Cunning, Chris French, Maria Mitsoula, Paul Pattinson, and Leo Xian, The University of Edinburgh; The Siskiyou Trail: A Right to Return by Uri Wegman AR’08, and Laila Seewang AR’05, EPFL, Portland State University; Star Stories by Sotirios Kotoulas AR’03; Time Clouds: Playground and Archaeology Garden by Georg Windeck; Timescape Garden by Peter Lynch AR'84, Anna Asplind, Martin Heidesjö, and Mats Nordahl; Trading, Tracing, and Telling: The Alchemies of Exchange by Catherine Ann Somerville Venart, Dalhousie University; TS 1: A Talking Station for Tempelhofer Feld by Holger Kleine AR’90, Hochschule RheinMain; and Will We Live Together? Redeeming the Hotel House Ghetto Tower into the Ideal Vertical Village byPippo Ciorra, Marco D’Annuntiis, Luca Di Lorenzo Latini, Sara D’Ottavi, Gilda Tormenti, Claudia Vagnozzi, and Martina Pompei, SAAD University of Camerino.

This exhibition was conceived by Yael Hameiri Sainsaux AR’10 and is accompanied by a SKIRA publication. Contributors include Barry Bergdoll and Daniel Sherer. Matthew Hitscherich AR’12, David Huber AR’10, and Peter Schubert served as advisors.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a daylong symposium titled Nuance and Intimacy in Civic Space will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at The Cooper Union.

Free and Open to the Public