Based in Culver City, Calif., Morphosis Architects designed a new academic building for the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art to help foster cross-disciplinary dialogue between the college’s art, architecture, and engineering faculty and students. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal meetings and creative exchanges—forms the building’s core. An undulating lattice envelops a 20-foot-wide grand stair that rises four stories through the skylit atrium.

Jury: “41 Cooper Square is so optimistic and wonderfully celebratory as you move through it. … This has a spirit and aura to it that’s extremely hard to capture and goes beyond most buildings.”

Client: “Our whole educational process at Cooper Union is aimed at nurturing creativity and innovation, and so there is no question in my mind that that is where Cooper Union will make an extraordinary contribution. … [We wanted] a space that would in fact inspire students, a space such that faculty and students, when they wake up in the morning, one of their first thoughts will be, ‘I can’t wait to get to that building.’ ” —former Cooper Union President George Campbell Jr., as quoted in the alumni magazine At Cooper Union