New Digital Fabrication Certificate Keeps Continuing Ed on the Cutting Edge

POSTED ON: January 23, 2013

Digital design by architecture students Rolando Vega and Daniel Wills

Digital design by architecture students Rolando Vega and Daniel Wills

Continuing its commitment to professional certification in cutting edge fields, The Department for Continuing Education at The Cooper Union now offers a Certificate in Digital Representation and Fabrication.  This uniquely comprehensive program covers both the software and hardware tools used in this field.  Already expanding from the previous semester, six courses are offered during the Spring 2013 term covering topics like 3-D parametric design programs Rhinoceros and Grasshopper as well as 3-D printing and laser cutting.  Geared toward the novice and professional alike, anyone interested in digital design for art, architecture, science and other fields will be empowered in the current marketplace by having a certificate that others don't.

"The certificate is for anybody that designs anything three dimensional," David Greenstein, Director of Public Programs and Continuing Education at The Cooper Union, says.  "We are currently experiencing a digital revolution where creative fields are directly benefiting from the increasing capabilities of digital interfaces and rapid prototyping. The certificate program creates a rare opportunity for each student to develop an individual strategy and create physical forms in his/her discipline or cross boundaries among several disciplines.”

This is the third certificate offered by the Department of Continuing Education.  The first, in Green Building Design, had no peer in the New York metropolitan area when it began in 2007.  Following its success the department looked for another opportunity to offer a unique certification and, in 2011, began a program in Typeface design.  Cooper remains the only school in North America with such a program and one of only four places in the world where you can study typeface design at such a level.  Now it has a third certificate in line with its predecessors.  "I was looking for other revolutionary processes," David Greenstein says, "and digital design and fabrication is a technology that is clearly taking off."

Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, Associate Professor at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and a recognized scholar and in the fields of art, architecture, computation and theory, directs the new program. “Understanding interfaces and structuring information is critical for artists working on sculpture projects or architects and designers who seek to create radical novel forms," Professor Lorenzo-Eiroa, says.  "Before digital fabrication, the designer had to propose a design and then create a means to communicate the execution of the design through building a representational model.  With fabrication, designers can bypass this step and directly develop and execute 3-D work. The Digital Representation and Fabrication Certificate program enables students to collect, analyze, assemble and represent information through computational systems, in addition to learning personal strategies for critical work with these advanced tools.”

Courses in the Spring 2013 semester are now open for registration. Classes begin the first week of February.  More information on registration dates and fees are available by calling 212.353.4198 or visiting the website.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.