Cooper Union

Cooper Union New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square

Cooper Union's 175,000-square-foot, $111.6 million addition, known simply by its street address, 41 Cooper Square, covers the full block on Third Avenue from East 6th to East 7th in downtown Manhattan, bordering the East Village. Although it is roughly the same size as Cooper Union's foundation building diagonally across from Cooper Square, its futuristic façade is strikingly different in style and unlike anything else around it.

Cooper Union New Academic Building

Cooper Union New Academic Building.

A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building. This vertical piazza is the social heart of the building, providing a place for impromptu and planned meetings, student gatherings, lectures, and for the intellectual debate that defines the academic environment.

Design Assist

Morphosis Architects brought Zahner onto the design team to provide engineering-design for its facade, which was then also manufactured by Zahner. Many of the Zahner-manufactured projects start at this design assist phase, where architects provide a general model or drawings, and Zahner engineers help define the details for both efficient manufacturing within a budget, as well as trueness to the original design.

 

Time-lapse video of Cooper Union panel systems being installed by local installers.

As the project moved into the production phase; the project was engineered, drafted, and fabricated as pre-assembled metal panels for quick installation on the building's surface. The panels were shipped to New York City where local installers and Zahner partners, W&W Glass, installed the pre-fabricated panels.

Zahner worked on two projects previously with Morphosis, the Eugene Federal Courthouse, and the Morphosis exhibit in Paris.

The Building Envelope Design

From afar, the New Cooper Union Academic Building appears to have tall windows scattered all over its surface.  Drawing nearer, these little windows are actually sheets of stainless steel, and it is the rest of the building which is the window. Perforated stainless steel, with a mechanically-applied Angel Hair™ finish, adorns the entire façade.

The perforated metal skin surrounding the entirety of the building serves several sustainability purposes: It controls sunlight penetration during the summer to reduce the influx of heat radiation, while serving as an insulating barrier in cold weather, further reducing energy loss. This energy-saving device promises a 50% reduction in heat load.

Fabricators at Zahner assemble the Cooper Union facade in Kansas City

Fabricators at Zahner assemble the Cooper Union facade in Kansas City.

Panels prepared for shipment to New York from Kansas City

Panels prepared for shipment to New York from Kansas City.

Cooper Union New Academic Building signage at Zahner shop

Cooper Union New Academic Building signage at Zahner shop.

Detail of the Cooper Union New Academic Building signage

Detail of the Cooper Union New Academic Building signage.

Interior of the Cooper Union New Academic Building

Interior vertical piazza of the Cooper Union New Academic Building.

Diagram of the Unitized System for Cooper UnionCooper Union New Academic Building

 

Unitized system diagram and completed Cooper Union New Academic Building.

Basic structure beneath the Cooper Union's facade during construction

Basic structure beneath the Cooper Union's facade during construction.

Diagram showing the rectangular areas where less perforations are present

Diagram showing the rectangular areas where less perforations are present.

Detail photograph of the less perforated rectangular sections

Detail photograph of the less perforated rectangular sections.

Detail of the curving perforated metal facade

Detail of the curving perforated metal facade.

Operable windows at Cooper Union New Academic Building

Operable windows at Cooper Union New Academic Building.

Window unit actuator for operable windows at Cooper Union

Example actuator for the operable window units.

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