Cornell's College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) enjoys a well-established presence in New York City in both academic programming and the professional practice of its faculty and alumni.
AAP NYC occupies the entire 20th floor of 26 Broadway, a New York City landmark and corporate headquarters of Standard Oil from 1885 to 1956. This location is the setting of many architecture, design and engineering firms whose members are visiting lecturers and critics – many who also are alumni continuing a legacy of involvement shown by others such as M. Arthur Gensler, B.Arch. '57, Richard Meier '56, B.Arch. '57, and Paul Rubacha '72, MBA '73, who played early roles developing the program.
Gensler, the firm of M. Arthur Gensler, donated its services to design the current facility, customizing it to meet programming needs for all three departments of the college.
Gensler had a summer internship with a New York City architecture firm while he was an AAP student. "I think it's important for our students to find out what they're facing in the real world," he said in 2013. "The New York City program exposes them to a very different world than what they have in Ithaca."
The AAP NYC semester offers a range of student experiences. Graduate students in regional planning and landscape architecture explore planning issues at specific project sites in the city. The bachelor of fine arts semester includes studio, seminar and interdisciplinary and professional practice courses. Undergraduate and graduate architecture students engage in design studios, professional practice and seminars. Bachelor of architecture students may also apply for internships.
During the summer months, AAP's Executive Education Program uses the city as its subject and laboratory. Classes in urban architecture and planning bring professionals together with world-renowned architects in New York City and AAP faculty from Ithaca.
AAP faculty regularly contribute to the cultural life of the city – Jenny Sabin, Carl Ostendarp and Thomas J. Campanella most recently. Sabin, the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor in architecture, is the winner of MoMA PS1's 2017 Young Architects Program, a design-build competition for an outdoor concert area at PS1 in Long Island City. (Caroline O'Donnell, the Richard Meier Assistant Professor of Architecture, was the 2013 winner.) Ostendarp, associate professor of art, earned critical acclaim for his solo painting exhibition at a Harlem art gallery. Campanella, MLA '91, associate professor in city and regional planning, was appointed historian-in-residence of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in 2016. His hometown also is the subject of his forthcoming book, "Brooklyn: A Secret History."
Robert W. Balder, the Gensler Family Sesquicentennial Executive Director of AAP NYC, says: "Since its opening in 2006, AAP NYC has become a vital and permanent part of the college's pedagogical framework. Our success has influenced other Cornell colleges as they have begun to learn from our experiences and develop their own New York City facilities.
"But our reach doesn't end with the Cornell community," Balder continues. "AAP NYC has built strong relationships with diverse private, public and civic partners who are directly engaged in the future of the city of New York. Our work has only begun."