Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Mayne event: What went into designing the new Cooper Union building

Time magazine has an interview online with Thom Mayne, the bigshot architect who designed the new Cooper Union building. To an excerpt!

TIME: So Cooper Union comes to you and says "Okay, here's the program. We need laboratories, offices, classrooms." They told you what they wanted. What did you want to bring to this project?

MAYNE: I don't bring anything a priori to a project in a conscious way. I don't come with an agenda. Clearly I come with interests that I've pursued over 35 years. Who I am as an architect and the history of my work — that's clear to anybody who hires me. But I come in literally with nothing in my brain about what the building will look like.

And I really couldn't with this one because it had a very complicated program. There was nothing to design until I knew how big it was and how many pieces there were. The envelope was given us — the basic shape — because it's a zoning diagram. And we needed every ounce of it because we didn't have enough. And then we looked at the program. On one side are laboratories and they go straight up and they're very efficient and straightforward. And in the front where the offices are, ditto. There's not a lot of room there for architecture.

[Photo via Time]


Brooks of Sheffield said...

Ah, we finally know what's wrong with today's architecture. The architects arrive with nothing in their brain!

Goggla said...

I can't get over the fact that this architecture/engineering school didn't use one or more of its own graduates. What does that say?

And, where was this photo taken from? The trees across the street or the construction site further down the block?

EV Grieve said...

I've seen some photogs hiding in the trees, but I just thought they were stalking the celebs at the Cooper Square Hotel.

Bowery Boogie said...

guess they didn't anticipate the "slide" out front.

Melanie said...

Great photo EV Grieve.

glamma said...

this building is just plain fugly. i would be so embarrassed if i went to cooper union.