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41 Cooper Square, New York, USA

What is the LEED Certification?

Nowadays architects more often have to think not only about shape of the building, but also about health of the people occupying it, and about protection of the environment from the building’s operations. From this point of view the 41 Cooper Square, one of the buildings of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, is a bright example of green architecture. It gains highest green appraisal - LEED Platinum certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Cooper Union’s new premise was designed by Morphosis Architects under the leadership of Thom Mayne. Construction was completed in 2009.

This extravagant building has an external layer made of perforated stainless steel. The layer helps to save electricity (keeps the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter) and therefore increases ecological value of the building. Another green feature is the design of the building made in the way which contributes the aggrandizement of the natural light within it. The 75 % of the interior spaces are naturally lit during the day and doesn’t need additional electrical illumination.

The Cooper Union College itself is an old institution and was established in 1859. Accordingly, the architectural style of the college’s other buildings is representing 19th century, while the new building is completely innovative and modern. This contrast between the buildings was created deliberately, because the administration of the college wanted the new and modern building to show the Cooper Union’s spirit for advanced and innovative education.

One of the most notable parts of the building is the huge stairway, which is 6 meters wide and is put-up to make the students move more. As far as the elevators don’t stop on every floor, very often the stairway is the only way to get to the auditoriums. The staircase spirals around the central atrium, which was intended to become a public space for the students.

One of the main external characteristics of the building is the glassy cut-out in the gray facade. This cut-out and asymmetrical outline of the building makes it look extraordinary and strange even for New York, the city of extremely diverse architecture styles.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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