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  • Gradient Tower

    Gradient Tower | The new Cooper Union School of the Advancement of Science and Art
    atlanta GEORGIA

    Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Architecture
    critic: Volkan ALKANOGLU

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Annie McCARTHY: The design of a new Cooper Union vertical campus challenges notions of extrusion of floor plates in the tower typology by thinking of both formal and programmatic organization as discrete chunks. How can Cooper Union situate itself in a vertical context, and how does that relate to formal chunking in a tower? In fact, it is in a similar way to how Cooper Union organizes itself in current lateral relationships in the Manhattan grid—on the cusp of two colliding grids.

    It is organized into discrete chunks existing within a framework, whether specifically urban or formal. Cooper Union’s programmatic structure is divided into equally distinct parts—the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. Pairing the two, a formal chunking strategy and a program which is conceptually and physically organized in chunks, facilitates an investigation which challenges the deeply embedded idea of extrusion in the tower.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    AM: The Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Science and Art, Adobe Illustrator Blend Tool, gradients, typological gradients, 425 Park Avenue Competition, Lever House, Seagram Building

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    AM: Reading Denise Scott Brown’s Having Words, Chris Ware’s Building Stories; listening to Nicolas Jaar, Andy McKee.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    AM: Neil Denari, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, William O’Brien Jr., Michael Maltzan Architecture.

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