Joan Ockman

Visiting Professor

Joan Ockman is an architectural historian, critic, and educator. She served as director of the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University from 1994 to 2008 and was a member of the faculty of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for over two decades. She has also taught at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, the Graduate Center of City University of New York, and the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and is currently Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She began her career at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, where she was associate editor of Oppositions journal and was responsible for the Oppositions Books series. In addition to her award-winning anthology Architecture Culture 1943–1968 (Rizzoli, 1993), her book publications include The Pragmatist Imagination: Thinking about Things in the Making (Princeton Architectural Press, 2000), Out of Ground Zero: Case Studies in Urban Reinvention (Prestel, 2002), Architourism: Authentic, Exotic, Escapist, Spectacular (Prestel, 2005), Donogoo-Tonka or The Miracles of Science, A Cinematographic Tale by Jules Romains (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), and Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America (MIT Press, 2012). She received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1974 and a B.Arch. from Cooper Union in 1980.

Projects & Links

  • 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.