The building’s exterior program also plays a key role in shaping the interior spaces of the academic and laboratory building. Naturally lit by an abundance of interior windows (masked behind the screened facade), the interior spaces were developed to foster collaboration and dialogue between the three schools — art, architecture and engineering — that are housed within the building.
The interior spaces are designed around a full-height grand atrium with a 20-foot wide four-story linear central staircase encased in a curvaceous lattice that ascends from the ground floor up. Upper-level balconies allow views across and into the atrium, which provides a connective thread between the school, the building and the city beyond. Inside the new building, students are able to glimpse across Third Avenue to see the Cooper Union Foundation Building a short distance away. The building also features an exhibition gallery, auditorium, lounge, and multi-purpose and retail spaces that benefit from 75% daylighting. The use of natural light helps reduce the need for artificial light, thus increasing energy savings.