Stephen Rustow


Stephen Rustow joined the faculty of the Irwin Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper Union in 2004.  He has taught Third Year Studio and Thesis and has developed new seminars on Urban History and on the Architectural Typology of the Museum; he was the first architecture professor to hold the Ellen and Sidney Feltman Chair, in 2006 and 2007.  Professor Rustow was previously a lecturer and studio critic for six years in Columbia University’s Paris Studio program, and has served as a an invited juror at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Harvard and UP 3 and 8 in Paris. His written criticism has appeared in Praxis, Casabella, JSAH and the Revue du Louvre among other publications and he has lectured widely on subjects related to the design of museums including lighting, exhibition design and the role of the museum in urban development.

An architect and planner with thirty years of experience, much of Mr. Rustow’s career has focused on museums. He is the founder and principal of Museoplan, a consulting practice that works with arts institutions and design professionals to plan, program and design the installation of cultural collections.  Recent projects include the Museum of Urbanism in Hangzhou, China; the Yuan Museum in Beijing, China; the National Museum Center of Sofia, Bulgaria; the Museum for African Art in NY; and the Galleria Gabbiano in Rome, Italy.

From 1999 – 2006, Professor Rustow directed the American team on the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York for Kohn Pedersen Fox, with Taniguchi Associates. He was responsible for the detailing of the museum‘s galleries, the renovation of its original building and celebrated sculpture garden, and the reprogramming and design of its new Education Wing.  He led the construction supervision team for the entire project over its seven-year duration. Until 1998, Professor Rustow was an Associate Partner in charge of Design with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and was senior designer on several of that firm’s museum projects, most notably the renovation and expansion of the Louvre.  A member of the original design team for the pyramid and the Cour Napoléon, Professor Rustow became Director of the Paris Office of PCF&P in 1990 and was in charge of the Tuileries Terrace, the supervision of the Carrousel Gardens and the completion of the Richelieu Wing, for which he designed the galleries of Oriental Antiquities, Islamic Art and the French and Northern Schools of Painting. 

Professor Rustow completed an undergraduate degree with high honors in Anthropology and Studio Arts at the University of Rochester and received Masters degrees in Architecture and in Urban Planning from M.I.T., where he was awarded an Institute Fellowship. He was an invited participant in the inaugural semester of Giancarlo de Carlo’s ILAUD, and, concurrently with his graduate studies, a Fellow of the National Science Foundation.  Professor Rustow is a registered architect in the state of New York and holds certification from National Council of Architectural Registration Boards; he is a member of the American Institute of Architects and a past member of the Ordre des Architectes in France. He is also an urban planner, a past member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and a member of the American Planning Association.

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.