Exhibition

  • Archive and Artifact: The Virtual and the Physical
    Steven Hillyer
    Curator
    The Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, The Cooper Union, New York
    Oct 23, 2018 to Dec 01, 2018
  • GRANTEE
    The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art-Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
    GRANT YEAR
    2017

Stanley Allen, The Theater of Production (Thesis, 1980–81: John Hejduk, Raimund Abraham, Anthony Candido, Ricardo Scofidio, Robert Slutzky, and Bernard Tschumi), New York. Courtesy of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive, the Cooper Union.

Archive and Artifact: The Virtual and the Physical celebrates 50 years of groundbreaking architecture education through the lens of leading design studio thesis work, both on display and through a new online digital database. The exhibit chronicles an historic half century of architecture themes and typologies from 1966 to 2016, exemplified by the formative student work of prominent Cooper Union graduates, such as Daniel Libeskind, Toshiko Mori, Stan Allen, and Elizabeth Diller. Included are projects overseen by former Cooper Union Dean John Q. Hejduk, a renowned architect and educator recognized for his radical re-imagination of architecture pedagogy in the 1970s, which transformed architecture education worldwide. The exhibit features hand-drawn, born-digital, and three-dimensional works, and coincides with the launch of a comprehensive web-based digital database of the school's pedagogy. Visitors can access the exhibit's physical materials and the Archive's expanded digital collection through computer terminals within the gallery.

Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, will participate in the selection of works to be included in the exhibition. Tehrani joined the Chanin School in 2015, following his posts at MIT as department head and professor of architecture. Throughout his career, Tehrani has worked to motivate academic research to change and test new protocols of practice in the context of academia. Tehrani has also taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the Rhode Island School of Design, Georgia Tech (as the Ventulett Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design), and the University of Toronto in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (as the Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair). He is partner and principal designer of NADAAA, a Boston-based professional practice dedicated to the advancement of design innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, construction practice, and green development.

Steven Hillyer, director of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archive, will be co-curator of the exhibition. To date in his 27-year-long career at the Cooper Union, he has assisted and led the curating, design, and installation of 35 exhibitions at the college and abroad. Hillyer has presented the work of such distinguished architects as Raimund Abraham, John Hejduk, Louis I. Kahn, Josef Kleihues, Daniel Libeskind, Carlo Scarpa, Michael Webb, and Lebbeus Woods, often working in direct collaboration. His international work includes exhibitions at Prague Castle, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Hillyer's exhibitions have also featured artists Mary Kelly and Robert Slutzky and photographers J. Henry Fair and Margaret Morton. Hillyer was instrumental in building the Student Work Collection of the Architecture Archive, from which the exhibition content will be derived. He received his BArch degree from the Cooper Union in 1990.

Lea Bertucci, the Chanin School’s special projects assistant, will assist with exhibition research, outreach, design, and installation. With a professional background as a sound artist and composer, Bertucci was a ISSUE Project Room Artist-in-Residence (2015), a New Works Fellow at Harvestworks, and a MacDowell Fellow (2016). Bertucci has performed and exhibited at Smack Mellon, the Queens Museum of Art, the Kitchen, Anthology Film Archives, Caramoor, the Bronx Museum of Art, St. Mark's Church, Experimental Intermedia, and the High Zero Festival, among others.

Chris Dierks, archive collections assistant, will assist with access to and digitization of thesis works held within the Architecture Archive. Dierks previously worked as the Archivist for Acconci Studio, a Brooklyn-based architecture and design office, and as the Archive Manager for Van Alen Institute's Design Archive. He has served as a consultant for several New York-based nonprofit design organizations. Dierks received his BA in architecture from Princeton University.

Archivist Caitlin Biggers is project manager of the Archive Digital Access Project and oversees development of the online database of student work that will launch in conjunction with the exhibition opening. Biggers’s professional career has focused on increasing public access to visual resource collections through cataloging and digitization. She has worked with the NYC Municipal Archives, NYU's Bobst Library, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Steven Holl Architects, and several private collections. She received a BA in history from Goucher College and her MA in archives and public history from NYU.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art prepares talented students to make enlightened contributions to society in architecture, art, engineering, humanities and social sciences. A distinguished, creative faculty fosters rigorous, humanistic learning in a close conservatory-style environment augmented by the urban setting. Students are admitted solely on merit and receive a minimum 50% tuition scholarship. The college serves the New York City community with outreach programs in STEM, writing, art, and architecture that encourage and prepare disadvantaged K–12 students for a college education. The Cooper Union, its Chanin School of Architecture and Archive, offer numerous exhibits, lectures, and public programs for the cultural and civic enrichment of the New York City area. The college was founded in 1859 by philanthropist Peter Cooper and remains guided by his vision that the college play an important role in the political and cultural life of the city and country.