Chris Cooper


Design Partner

New York


Based in New York, Chris is an ambitious design leader who brings foresight, elegance, tectonic rigor, and artful experiences to his buildings. Throughout his two decades at SOM, he has led projects with a careful attention to scale, sustainability, and placemaking.

Chris’s design approach—expressing an inherent sense of place, finding expressions that resonate with the past while charting new paths forward—is evident in one of his first major projects, 7 World Trade Center. As the first tower to be rebuilt on the World Trade Center site, it established a vision for the future of the district while setting a benchmark for environmental performance. Chris’s attention to detail led him to collaborate with artists and specialists to develop a finely calibrated glass facade that reflects the changing sky conditions.

Similarly, Chris brought his sensibility for integrating contemporary architecture into a historic context to the Park Loggia on the Upper West Side. The 32-story residential tower elegantly fits in among its neighbors with its thoughtfully detailed and glazed rainscreen grid of extruded terracotta panels. The high-profile 175 Park Avenue is a careful effort at creating a new landmark tower at one of the most prominent locations in the city, framed by the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal. In Midtown, Chris’s design for the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations blends Arabesque design elements with classic New York architectural influences to create a welcoming and inspiring environment. And at 500 Park Avenue, a landmark modernist building designed by SOM in 1960, Chris led the first major interior renovation in more than 50 years, creating a contemporary office space that echoes the timeless quality of the original design.

At the onset of a decade that may very well determine the future of our planet, we approach each project with a focus on conserving resources and supporting the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

As the founding partner of SOM’s Climate Action Group, Chris always seeks to elevate standards for sustainable design in his work — from 7 World Trade Center, which was the first commercial office building to achieve LEED-C/S Gold certification; to the redevelopment of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, a cutting-edge headquarters designed to achieve net zero carbon; to a new, secure and sustainable production facility for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.

Selected Work