The Cooper Union East Village Development Plan

New York, NY

Founded on the radical notion that education of the highest quality should be “as free as air and water”, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science occupies a unique place in American higher education. But amidst an increasingly dynamic real estate market, Cooper Union’s ability to maintain its historic mission became linked to its ability to leverage its increasingly valuable real estate holdings in its East Village neighborhood. With plans to modernize and expand their aging academic facilities stalled, Cooper Union retained EE&K to forge consensus around a framework for development of a new academic building and a privately developed mixed-use project.

EE&K’s massing strategy addressed the differences between the larger scale of the north-south avenues and the East Village’s more intimate side streets. EE&K also developed guidelines to ensure that the new buildings would engage Cooper Square and Astor Place, two of New York’s most vibrant and idiosyncratic public spaces. The success of EE&K’s plan allowed Cooper Union to win long-sought approval for the rezoning of the two parcels. The plan’s subsequent implementation culminated in with the unveiling of a new mixed-use development project and opening of a state-of-the-art Academic Building.