Gradient Tower

Annie McCarthy (website)
Georgia Institue of Technology
Gradient Towers Studio
Brief: A Vertical Campus for The Cooper Union
Faculty: Volkan Alkanoglu (website)


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 The 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. Pairing the two, a formal chunking strategy and a program which is conceptually and physically organized in chunks, facilitates an investigation which challenges this deeply embedded idea of extrusion in the tower.  


↑ formal chunking

↑ solid | void

↑ programmatic chunking

↑ figural volume within volume

↑ floor plate distribution

↑ circulation | cores

↑ context plan

↑ lobby level

↑ art studio level

↑ engineering classroom level

↑ exterior community level

↑ architecture studio level

↑ Cooper Union’s new Great Hall auditorium | top level

↑ 56th Street elevation

↑ Park Avenue elevation

↑ detail section

↑ section

↑ detail section

↑ section

↑ axonometric

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