Lessons from Modernism

January 29 - March 23, 2013

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Housing at Sunila Pulp Mill - Alvar Aalto, 1936 Open Air School - Johannes Duiker, 1930 Cocoon House: Paul Rudolph with Ralph Twitchell, 1951 House II in Kavouri: Constantin DeCavallas, 1968 Exhibition Installation view Exhibition Installation View Exhibition Installation View Exhibition Installation View Exhibition Installation View
Housing at Sunila Pulp Mill - Alvar Aalto, 1936

LESSONS FROM MODERNISM
Environmental Design Considerations in 20th Century Architecture, 1925 - 1970  

Now extended to March 23! Lessons From Modernism examines selected works of architecture completed between 1925-70 through the lens of sustainability. This analysis of the use of environmental strategies — long before they were commonly used in 21st century buildings — opens at The Cooper Union’s Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery on January 29th (reception at 6:30PM).  

Through an analysis of the influence of nature and the environment in architectural design, Lessons From Modernism provides new insights into works achieved by a diverse selection of architects, including Le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph, Jean Prouvé and Oscar Niemeyer. The exhibition demonstrates how these architects integrated environmental concerns into their designs and explores the extent to which these practices have produced environmentally performative and distinctive architecture. 

The 25 examples shown in the exhibition were extensively researched and documented by a team of Cooper Union students, faculty and alumni. These buildings demonstrate the importance of the aesthetic of clarity and utility that characterizes 20th century modern architecture. This aesthetic, or really, these values, inform the contemporary green building movement today.

The show also features:

  • Solutions to the challenges of particular climates: cool northern zones, hot arid zones and tropical and subtropical zones 
  • Analytical drawings illustrating the sustainable design issues evidenced within each project
  • A timeline illustrating the evolving global environmental consciousness
  • 25 three dimensional architectural models made specifically for the exhibition

This exhibition, presented by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, was made possible by generous support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. It is free and open to the public.

In conjunction with the exhibition, award-winning British architect Sara Wigglesworth will give the 2013 Eleanore Pettersen lecture at Cooper Union, discussing principles of design excellence and ecological innovation. The lecture, “Current Work,” is co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York in the Great Hall on Thursday, February 28, 2013 (7PM).

January 29 - March 23, 2013 (extended!)
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12-7pm
(Closed Sunday and Monday)

Located in the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, 7 East 7th Street, 2nd Floor, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • 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.