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The Cooper Union Academic Building

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Sep 26th, 2012. Artwork published in .
    cooperUnion_27_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Signage on the Cooper Union's original 1859 building.

    Pentagram:

    For the signage typography Abbott Miller chose the font Foundry Gridnik, which resembles the lettering on the façade of the Foundation building. The original signage has a strong, angular look that suggests art, architecture and engineering. (“It looks like it was drawn with a T-square,” says Miller.) Gridnik also has a tough and futuristic character that makes it especially sympathetic to the forms and materials of the new building.

    Miller’s program of donor signage is also uniquely integrated with the architecture. The lobby of the new building is a soaring sky-lit atrium that rises up nine stories through the building’s core and is dominated by staircases. A dramatic installation recognizing major donors animates the underside of a descending stairwell, the signage comprised of over 80 “blades” that cascade down the underside of the stairs, echoing the stairs’ downward motion. The typography is engraved on the front, bottom and reverse surface of each blade.

    cooperUnion_31_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Donor signage on the building's roof terrace appears as a constellation of names engraved in granite.

    cooperUnion_20_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.
    cooperUnion_33_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Donor signage cascades down the underside of a lobby staircase.

    cooperUnion_29_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Foundry Gridnik was selected for its resemblance to the lettering on the original building.

    cooperUnion_21_sm.jpg
    Source: http://new.pentagram.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Donor signage appears on vertical corner guards outside the classroom doors.

    Typefaces

    • Foundry Gridnik

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