September 11, 2013
by Camila Schaulson Frenz

AIANY laments the loss of Karen Cooper, President of Cooper, Robertson & Partners. She was known by her colleagues for her intelligence, decisiveness, generosity, and passion. Cooper died on 08.22.13 after a year-long battle with cancer.

A graduate of the State University of New York, Cooper joined Cooper, Robertson & Partners at its beginning in 1979, working along with her then-husband Alexander Cooper, FAIA, and Jacquelin T. Robertson, FAIA, and serving as the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. At the time of her passing, she had been president of the firm for six years. As president, she succeeded in reorganizing the structure and refining the focus of the firm.

Under Cooper’s leadership, the firm designed a number if award-winning projects, including the Central Delaware Plan, which won Design Awards from the AIA New York Chapter, AIA New York State, and AIA National. The firm also contributed to “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” Mayor Bloomberg’s plan for rebuilding communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Cooper served as Special Assistant to the Chair of the New York City School Construction Authority, where she oversaw the restructuring of the design and construction department. She was also involved in a number of professional, civic, and charitable groups, and was a Board Member of the Arts Horizons organization.


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