Students in the School Architecture, with support of Art and Engineering students respond to Cooper Union Board of Trustees failure to uphold the mission of their school through a collaborative intervention upon the School of Architecture Lobby, a white space famously designed by John Hejduk. The students pinned two written statements upon the walls after completion(below). Until the recently announced decision Copper Union was the only school of Art, Architecture, and Engineering in the country to offer full tuition scholarships to all admitted students, admittance based solely on merit.
This space, the third floor lobby of Cooper Union's Foundation Building, is a sacred space, the heart of the School of Architecture. This is our citadel, our platform to address the world. This lobby is a place where we engage in a dialogue of critique, debate, and the free exchange of ideas. The spirit of this space, a work forged from the toil of many great individuals, has been violated by those sworn to uphold its principles.
As students of architecture we aspire to give complex social, political and poetic ideas a spatial and conceptual form of true meaning. We who join in this act gather as a community to affirm our resolve for the sanctity of education as a profound social act. Through this work, we manifest the violation inflicted upon this space, upon this school and upon the social contract which upholds it.
“To record is to bear witness.” (John Hejduk)
"To be within the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is to be within a spiritual place, an authentic place. An institution that is lovingly held in trust. A place that believes one of society's prime social responsibilities is towards learning and education in the deepest sense. It's a place that contributes to thought, free thought, thought that is exploratory thought, founded by Peter Cooper, a man with a vision that still sustains and maintains the spirit of place and cares for enlightenment.
I don't think there are many things more important than being a student. That, to me, is the deepest social contract, to understand the idea that individual creativity within a willing community is a profound social act. The privilege of being teachers and students within this remarkable place- to be teachers in a place of spirit, to be teachers of spirit, and to be spirited students.
All one can do is celebrate one discipline."
John Hejduk, Graduate,1950
Proffessor of Architecture 1964-2000
Dean, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture 1975-2000