Educational Programs | April 7, 2023

Sorkin Reading Room Opens at Spitzer School

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.

The Sorkin Reading Room

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture has opened the Sorkin Reading Room, dedicated to its namesake, Michael Sorkin, the late distinguished professor of architecture.

An author, activist, architecture critic, urbanist, and the head of Michael Sorkin Studios and Terreform, Sorkin joined the Spitzer School of Architecture as a professor of architecture and director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design in 2000. He founded the annual Mumford Lectures which boasts stellar speakers. In 2008, he was made a distinguished professor. Sorkin died of Coronavirus in March 2020.

“The reading room will be used by researchers interested in Michael Sorkin’s criticism, pedagogy, and design practice,” said Joan Copjec, Sorkin’s wife and main proponent of the project. “The room itself, designed by Michael’s colleague Professor Elisabetta Terragni, is beautiful and calm.”

Located close to St. Nicholas Park, the space is light-filled with a long seminar table to engender conversation and debate. Lining shelves he designed for his office, Sorkin’s books are organized according to his personal system, introducing readers to his way of thinking about urbanism, architecture, and cities. The generously donated collection of close to 4,000 items includes syllabi, various published writings, lectures, books, studio information, journals, catalogues, numerous bound files from select architects, and many other items.

“Michael Sorkin was a creatively provocative and animating force in architecture and at CCNY’s Spitzer School. A reading room to carry forth the spirit of intellectual excitement that he embodied is an absolutely appropriate tribute to his legacy at our college,” said CCNY President Vincent Boudreau.

In addition to the Sorkin Reading Room opening, there is much to celebrate at the Spitzer School of Architecture, including Shellie Sclan-Berman’s generous gift of the books and papers of her late husband Marshall Berman, the distinguished professor of political science at City College, to the CCNY Architecture Library in the Spitzer School.

“Michael would be delighted to know that the archive of his colleague and ‘comrade’ Marshall Berman was installed near his library. Professor Berman was an essential component of the Graduate Program in Urban Design, the first chosen by Michael when he drew up his ‘wishlist’ for the slate of his faculty,” said Copjec. “Marshall Berman was a towering intellect and also a close colleague and friend over my decades at CCNY; he often said that he’d never leave the college. Now, in the close company of his friend Michael, he never will,” said Boudreau.