Above collage and model by architect Diane Lewis found in her 2007 book Inside-out: Architecture New York City published by Charta Books. The image on the left has been altered by the author.
By Austin Richard Mayer (Arch ‘18)
As a preface, I want to note the hyperactivity of the oversized urban characters of Astor place. Specifically, the boxing of Peter Cooper, the disappearance and reappearance of The Cube, the inflation of the Koons’ ballon dog, the running of Haring’s green man, the spinning blue wall of bikes and the resurrection of Hejduk’s Suicide Houses. As interior and exterior, Astor Place is an urban theater operating on a few scales: We find ourselves at a possible intermission of an urban drama written centuries ago.
The Cooper Union sits in what might be considered the cradle of NYC skateboard territory. Our next few issues will profile the building elements that compose our own campus skate park. First up we have east coast powerhouse Ishod Wair performing a 50-50 grind on the Foundation Building’s access ramp handrail. The ramp, designed by John Hejduk and Edwin Aviles, was installed in 1992 to allow wheelchair access and heavy freight loading into the building. Drawings made by Steven Hillyer were granted approval from the Landmark Preservation Committee to construct this addition to the portico of our 1859 historic brownstone. The ramp-side space created is a tiny thread of juxta-temporal urban fabric with a mood all its own, enjoyed by those who frequently and infrequently hang out within it. In conclusion, I suggest that this element can be read as a lil tongue sticking out the side of a lil mouth. ◊