Edifice Complex and the Decline of Cooper Union
Felix Salmon has a must read on how edifice complex destroyed Cooper Union.
Cooper Union offered degrees in engineering and architecture since 1853 and they did while remaining tuition free. They were also the stage where Abraham Lincoln gave one of his greatest speeches. Cooper Union was able to remain tuition free for so long because Peter Cooper bequeathed the school with valuable real estate including the land under what is now known as the Chrysler Building.
In 2001, George Campbell became President and decided that he was tired of Cooper Union’s modest old buildings near Astor Place and wanted a shiny new campus for the 21st century. Something that can really show his legacy. He ended up destroying one of the last beacons of tuition free education in the United States.
Can anything stop edifice complex?