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Curbed Inside: New Cooper Union Building Weaves Its Web

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Curbed Inside visits the interior of a structure with an eye towards revealing the design and architecture. Got a place for us to check out? Drop a line.

We've been monitoring the new Cooper Union academic building for many months now, and as construction continues at the northern terminus of the Bowery it's safe to say that this intergalactic space vessel is really starting to resemble its other-worldly renderings, cooked up by architect Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles-based Morphosis. (The Cooper Union gallery will refresh your memory/blow your mind all over again.) The project's contractor Sciame Construction gave a few folks a look at what lies behind all that glass this week, and we were lucky enough to score a sneak peek.

The building's main features are of course its perforated stainless steel scrim (which shades the building, reducing its cooling costs) and a huge interior atrium surrounded by a wavy spiderweb grid thingy (above). Seriously, how else to describe this? The academic building is going for an LEED Gold rating, although we're told LEED Platinum status is still possible. There are a ton of sustainable features (radiant cooling and heating in the ceilings, cogeneration plant, green roof, and so on) and an equal amount of architectural fireworks, like a large stairway in the atrium that will double as a student hang-out. It's a Caltrans Headquarters-like collision of materials, but is also refreshingly informal. When completed in late summer, the building?along with its much-discussed new neighbor?will cap the transformation of Cooper Square.
· The Cooper Union Builds [cooper.edu]
· Morphosis [Official Site]
· Cooper Union coverage [Curbed]