Jennifer Lee

CUAA Special Election 2015 for Alumni Trustees

Jennifer Lee


Jennifer LeeSchool of Architecture / 1997

New York, NY


Current Position, Organization:
Principal & Co-Founder, OBRA Architects


Relevant Skills:

Experience teaching in higher education both at Cooper, other area schools, as well as abroad in Asia

Experience fundraising

Experience running both US and international practice


Professional Qualifications:

Jennifer Lee founded OBRA Architects (obraarchitects.com) with Pablo Castro in the year 2000 in New York. She is the 2007 Cooper Union Urban Visionary Emerging Talent, a Cooper Union Alumni Council Hall of Fame member, 2006 NYFA Fellow, and 2003 SAH de Montëquin Senior Fellow. She graduated from Harvard College cum laude with a degree in English and American Literature and from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She has taught at Pratt Institute Graduate Architecture, Cooper Union, and Korea National University of Arts, Seoul. She is a licensed architect in New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC, and LEED AP. With her firm she has produced a body of award-winning projects recognized with 6 AIA NY Design Awards and 2 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards. The work of OBRA has been exhibited widely, and has been featured at MoMA, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, the National Art Museum of China, and Rhode Island School of Design, among others. OBRA is the 2006 winner of the PS1 MoMA Young Architects Program and was selected for the 2005 Architectural League Emerging Voices. The firm’s installations have included an emergency shelter prototype with furniture system at the National Art Museum of China in 2009 and the Oxymoron Pavilion erected at the 2012 Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism. Work by OBRA is included in the US Pavilion at the 2014 International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.


Personal Statement:

My connection to Cooper includes time spent as a student, as visiting professor, and as guest critic. During my student years I was also on staff in the Architecture Archives assisting in production of John Hejduk’s publications. Since my ongoing interactions with the institution from 1992 to today, I have witnessed firsthand a gradual transformation over the years from inside and out, and am well-equipped to view the current situation with both the commitment of an impassioned participant and perspective of distanced bystander. I am not only a graduate grateful for my years at the school, but thanks to the ambition and ideals that a rigorous education from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture instilled in me, I am also an active working professional with experience navigating in China, Korea, Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Argentina, etc. I would like to be part of the effort to preserve transparency in the Board of Trustee’s decision-making and actively assist in broadening the involvement of students, alumni, faculty and staff in the school’s governance. Since my graduation from Cooper in 1997, I have developed as a practitioner and professional and expanded both a professional and academic network that extends across several continents, including Asia and Latin America. I believe that this perspective, not only my experience as both student and teacher in other institutional environments in the US and abroad, but also my professional experience in a wide range of cultural contexts, will help me engage the audience of current students, past alumni, and future networks, that is both global and quintessentially New York. I believe I can help in preserving the message and the mission the school was founded on, which I and so many other graduates benefitted from, as well as in expanding the school’s outreach and future impact, in its nurturing of diversity, opportunity, creativity, and integrity.


Additional Information:

  • Jennifer Lee is a licensed architect, Principal & Co-founder of OBRA Architects, with work in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the US. With her practice and teaching she has an expanded professional and academic global network.
  • AR ’97, she is an Urban Visionaries Emerging Talent, CUA Hall of Fame inductee, MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Winner, Architectural League Emerging Voices, and recipient of 6 AIA NY Design Awards.
  • Her experience as both student and educator spans Cooper’s recent history, from early years under Hejduk to teaching under Vidler. She has taught in the US, Korea and Argentina and prior to Cooper she graduated cum laude from Harvard College.