Last Week for Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Considerations in 20th Century Architecture at Cooper Union

Profiling 25 works of modernism from 1925-1970, the exhibit argues that environmental design has been a primary component of architecture for decades.

Alvar Aalto’s Housing at Sunila Pulp Mill – 1936

Cooper Union’s exhibit Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Considerations in 20th Century Architecture is entering its last week, closing on this coming Saturday, March 23. The exhibit reviews the influence of the natural environment on architecture, profiling 25 works dating between 1925 and 1970 from modernist giants that include Le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph, and Alvar Aalto. Each work was researched, selected, and documented by a group of Cooper Union students, faculty, and alumni. “These buildings demonstrate the importance of the aesthetic of clarity and utility that characterizes 20th century modern architecture. This aesthetic, or really, these values, inform the contemporary green building movement today,” the exhibit abstract notes.

We haven’t seen the exhibit – yet – but according to the Architect’s Newspaper it “makes the case that environmental design has long been a a foregrounded consideration in the creation of architecture and not something created by by the United States Building Council and its LEED certification process.” In addition to 3D models of each of the 25 buildings profiled, the exhibit includes analytical drawings that demonstrate the sustainable design concepts that permeate each piece of architecture. It also features the curators’ proposed design solutions to the challenges of particular climates: cool northern zones, hot arid zones and tropical and subtropical zones, as well as a timeline illustrating the evolving global environmental consciousness.

You can find Lessons from Modernism at The Cooper Union’s Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, 7 East 7th Street, on the second floor, between Third and Fourth Avenues. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

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