The Cooper Union

The Cooper Union

New York, NY

Current Work: Accessible Schools

Tue, Apr 23 '247 PM  –  Tue, Apr 23 '247 PM
New York, NY, US | Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, Cooper Union

Free for League members $15 general admission

This spring, the League is focusing on the imperative for a more accessible built environment, from different perspectives and through different typologies. The overarching concern is to look beyond the often inconsistently executed design ramifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to address how the fields that are charged with planning, design, construction, and management can more fully address an inclusive, well-designed approach to disability justice.

This event will bring together architects, educators, and advocates to explore the process of creating learning and teaching environments where the broadest range of bodies and minds can thrive. Focusing on educational facilities for K-12 students, , the presentations will examine both the physical design of school buildings and the ways in which educators create spaces of learning for young people of all abilities.

The program will close with a panel discussion and an audience Q&A moderated by Irina Verona and Jennifer Carptenter.


Mary Burnham is a founding partner of MBB Architects, a women-owned practice in New York City. Burnham leads projects in the educational and cultural spheres with a focus on mission driven organizations. She received her MArch from the Yale School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. She was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2018.

Lauren Melissa Ellzey is an autistic self-advocate, author, educator, and activist. Her work highlights, in her own words, “the inequitable systems that oppress queer, BIPOC, and disabled folks.” Ellzey is an instructional support specialist for the New York University Steinhardt Center’s ASD Nest Program, and has collaborated with organizations such as Reframing Autism. She holds a master’s in library and information science from Syracuse University.

Kayla Hamilton is a performance maker, dancer, educator, and consultant based in the Bronx. She has created access-centered programming for the Mellon Foundation, Movement Research and DanceNYC, and her work has been presented at venues such as Performance Space NY and New York Live Arts. Hamilton has been a special education teacher at the Highbridge Green School in the Bronx since 2017.

Kristie Patten is counselor to the president at New York University and professor in the department of occupational therapy at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is the principal investigator of the NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Program, an inclusive program for children and adolescents with autism in the New York City Department of Education. Patten received her B.S. from Elizabethtown College and a master’s and PhD in Educational Psychology from Temple University.

Irina Verona is a founding principal at Verona Carpenter Architects, an architecture and interior design firm working “at the intersection of physical and social sustainability, designing spaces that give occupants agency and choice,” in the firm’s own words. Verona is a founding editor of Praxis: a Journal of Writing and Building. She received her MArch from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and currently teaches architecture at Barnard College and at Columbia GSAPP.  

Jennifer Carpenter is a founding principal at Verona Carpenter Architects. Carpenter has lectured widely on the subject of designing for neuro inclusion. Carpenter received her MArch from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University. She currently teaches a course on disability, architecture, and play at Columbia University GSAPP.

Free for League members $15 general admission

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