Institute for Sustainable Design

Towards a Sustainable Society

The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design seeks to provide the greater Cooper Union community—architects, engineers and artists—with the cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills that are necessary to create a sustainable society. We define a sustainable society as one that prospers because its economy, social practices, physical infrastructure and engineering systems all work in harmony with the ecological dynamics and resource limitations of the earth.

Director’s Statement

Over the past few years, we have witnessed global changes that not long ago seemed unthinkable. The synergistic impacts of economic upheaval, energy-related natural resource destruction and changes in our global climate—are not problems that will manifest later in the 21st century, but are real crises unfolding today. These problems directly link social, political and economic concerns with the design and management of built and living environments.

The Institute for Sustainable Design is evolving to address these new realities. The Institute is committed to a strategy that addresses ecological and social concerns by bringing sustainability to the forefront of our educational agenda. This includes the advancement of sustainability pedagogies within the Cooper Union curriculum, the creation of a “Greenprint” for Cooper Union that incorporates sustainability into all aspects of life in the Cooper Union community, and the establishment of our website as an information clearinghouse for reporting developments in sustainable building methods, infrastructure design and resource use. The cornerstone of our emerging strategy is the establishment of a Sustainable Design Innovation Laboratory, a project designed to advance a sustainable economy and foster connections between students and academic communities, professionals, regional governments and industry.

The Institute continues to provide opportunities in integrative education and is advancing a working model that promotes innovation in design and sustainability—an educational project we see as immensely valuable to the entire Cooper Union community, and to the broader public.

Prof. Kevin Bone, FAIA
Director, The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design

  • 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.