The building was designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, a Los Angeles-based practice. Morphosis was founded in 1972 with Jim Stafford, Livio Santini, and Michael Brickler. In that same year Mayne, along with other former faculty at the Cal State Poly at Pomona, founded a new school of architecture: the Southern California Institute of Architecture. SCI-Arc was founded on the principal of investigating new techniques and technologies within the practice of architecture; Cooper Union was a model for the kind of school it wanted to become. Forty years later, SCI-arc has maintained its status as a pioneer of the novel, whereas Cooper now finds itself balancing a push forward without losing its embrace on the past.