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Diane Lewis: Reader of Urbanity
Nader Tehrani
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With the publication of Open City: Existential Urbanity, Diane Lewis brought fourteen years of research and design to print. In doing so, she also brought closure to a life’s work of building connections between her thinking, teaching, and practice. Indeed, behind an intense and illustrious career, Lewis defined an era of The Cooper Union that not only precedes me, but has come to transition as many of its exemplary voices have moved on. John Hejduk (2000) and Lebbeus Woods (2012) passed on long before their time was due, each leaving behind a significant intellectual vacuum. Raimund Abraham (2010) left The Cooper Union in 2002 and also passed away prematurely. Others such as Peter Eisenman and Ricardo Scofidio live on productively but moved on from The Cooper Union in 2006 and 2007, respectively. In the spring of 2017, the untimely loss of Diane Lewis left the school with only Anthony Vidler and Diana Agrest as full-time professors; it also left the Cooper community with the recognition that an important part of its link to an era had come to pass and was in need of historical recognition.

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