Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture
Douglas Cooper is Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture and an adjunct faculty member with the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture.
Combining story, history and memory into panoramic murals has become the theme of Doug Cooper's work. He typically works with local residents and incorporates their lives into the works. He developed his first mural, now at Pittsburgh's Heinz History Center, for the Pittsburgh senior center in 1992. In 1994, he completed another mural with the elderly for the Philadelphia Courthouse. The 200-foot-long mural Cooper created for the Carnegie Mellon University Center (1996) shows the campus and Pittsburgh during three different time periods. The mural series for Seattle's King County Courthouse (2005) depicts the geography, history, and land-use patterns of that region. On two occasions, Cooper has used mural projects as vehicles for foreign language instruction. In 1996, assisted by CMU students, a German professor, and elderly residents of Frankfurt, Cooper created a nine-meter by six-meter mural for Frankfurt's central market. A similar process was used for the University of Rome mural in Esquilino (2005).
Cooper's recent murals have used the constraints and opportunities of the architectural setting as a source of content. The height, sight lines, and circulation in lobbies at corporate headquarters Mascaro (1999), Michael Baker (2003), and the University of California San Francisco were used as opportunities to depict the histories and aspirations of each institution. The 200-foot-long University of Rome mural uses ventilator grates as an element to transform a lecture hall into a piazza filled with people enacting the history of the district.
Cooper has authored two books on drawing: Steel Shadows (University of Pittsburgh) and Drawing and Perceiving (Wiley).