Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen, AIAProfessor of Architecture

Contact Information

x3655acohen@rwu.eduAR 222Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise



B.Arch. Cornell University
M.Arch.Harvard Graduate School of Design
Registered Architect N.C.A.R.B. Certificate

Andrew Cohen has been the primary director of the Graduate Thesis Program continuously since 2011, as well as prior to that date; while he has co-taught the Arch 641 Graduate Thesis Research seminar with other faculty, such as J. Bonder and H. Khan, he has been primarily responsible for the overall direction of the course.

Cohen has also led the Graduate Thesis Studio during this time, shepherding many talented students to a successful beginning to their post-academic careers.
The demands of a changing world and a changing profession have required Cohen to continually use every resource that he has developed through practice, the reading of professional texts, and travel to visit notable buildings and environments, so that he can continually give my students the most comprehensive assistance in fulfilling the potential of their projects.

Along with Dean Stephen White and Professor Julian Bonder, Cohen has continued to teach the Foundations of Architecture course to the entering freshman class. This gives him the rare opportunity to witness students at the beginning and the end of their academic experience at RWU. This course, co-written by the three of us, is continually refined and updated to introduce the students to issues concerning ethics and architecture, the relationship of architecture to the larger society, and tries to create a context for action within the world of architecture for our students who we hope will be able to solve problems that we have gotten them into. This requires a constant questioning and development of thoughts on the changing nature of architectural practice in a changing climate and a changing set of values.

As this course load is well above the demands of the contract, this leaves Cohen with fewer opportunities to teach courses in other subjects that remain close to his early research efforts, and that speak to the most important issues facing the profession. So in the summer of 2019, he co-taught a graduate studio that addressed, to a certain extent, the need to provide more forms of housing in the urban environment.

Practice: ACTWO Architects
Cohen has continued to combine practice and teaching through his concurrent activities in private practice. He has been fortunate to have garnered some peer recognition for ACTWO Architects design work, as well as a greater understanding into the nature of the business and cultural environment in which they place their work. Cohen has been involved with many projects on different scales and scopes, with partner Thomas White (RWU ’92) and Design Director Vincenzo Giambertone (RWU ’92), the firm has been growing both in reputation and in the range and importance of the work that are undertaking.

They are eager to continue their work at academic institutions, after successfully completing buildings at RWU (Sailing Center), MIT, Clark U. (in collaboration w/ Julian Bonder), and the New England School of English. They are currently in the proposal process for another academic building, and look forward to expanding this portion of their practice. ACTWO Architects have developed deep expertise and have become a leader in the field of modern office design, and biological and pharmaceutical laboratory design. They are often consulted to lend their expertise in the field large scale renovation of industrial and research facilities, and are currently involved in developing adaptive reuse strategies for a number of existing buildings in Boston. They also continue to design significant houses throughout New England; their work will be published this fall in a book on innovative houses in New England.

Their practice has undertaken projects in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California, Brazil, London, Washington DC, Florida, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and extensively in Massachusetts. They have been honored with awards from regional and national organizations, have been published in national and international blogs and publications (refer to CV for specifics), and continue to expand the scope of their work, moving into new technical and design challenges as the nature of work and the nature of technology is transformed.

2012 - 2019: After running Andrew Cohen Architects for 30 years, in 2012 established new S-Chapter Corporation for Professional Practice of Architecture, ACTWO Architects became managing principal, Partner and Corporate President, at ACTWO Architects.

In 2017 ACTWO Architects was named by as #1 on their list of the Best Office Architects in Boston.

ACTWO won an AIA New England Honor Citation for Design Excellence in 2016 for the RWU Sailing Center, and won a Boston Society of Architects Award for Design Excellence for our design of the offices in Cambridge, MA.

2013: Achieved upgrade to USGBC LEED 4.0 BD+C CERTIFICATION, renewed 2016, 2019.

While Cohen believes that the authority for mandating building sustainability should reside in the building codes, and not in a private, non-profit organization, he continues to take 30 hours of continuing education courses to maintain his certification as a Leader in Energy and Environmental Design, so he can design and certify buildings that go beyond the code requirements to achieve significance in Sustainability and Energy Use.

2016: Expanded Licensure to 5 states: MA, RI, CT, NH, Colorado

Professional Practice Activities at Roger Williams University
-Hired by RWU to design a non-denominational Meditation Chapel which was to be located behind GHH, this project was ultimately not taken to completion.

-ACTWO Architects was responsible for successfully designing the modifications necessary to make the President’s house’s public spaces fully accessible for public and social events, and compliant with the requirements of the ADA. They transformed the front of the house to enable wheelchair users full access to the main level of the house, and connected the rear patios to the living spaces.

-ACTWO Architects was hired by the Division of Capital Planning to envision the project for a donor-funded center for the RWU’s waterfront activities and a home for its sailing team. This effort, which included the development of all promotional and fund raising images for the project, as well as an emergency reworking and revision to RWU’s institutional master plan, was completed in 2015 with the opening of the Bready Sailing Center, which ultimately was awarded an AIA New England Design Award for excellence.

Academic and non-Academic Activities at Roger Williams University
2016, 2018, 2019: Visited RWU program in Barcelona.

In the fall of 2016, Cohen taught the 641 Thesis prep course to 2 students who were studying abroad in Barcelona as a distance learning course, connecting via Skype weekly, and having in person meetings in Barcelona at a mid-point in the semester.

In 2018 and 2019, Cohen served as a juror at the final reviews of the studio projects that were undertaken by our students as part of their study abroad experience.

2015: Traveled to Copenhagen, met with Principals of CF Moller Architects; arranged for visit by Partner/director of Sustainability to come to the RWU Cummings School of Architecture for lecture and exhibition in the Cummings School Gallery.

2017: Attended World Architecture Festival Berlin.

2018: Attended Venice Biennale.

2019: Met with Chief Architect at Novartis in Basel; arranged for exhibition Lecture visit Fall 2021

Coen has served on numerous review committees since 2011; major responsibilities have included:
2020: co-chair: Cummings School of Architecture search committee.
2019-21: co-chair Cummings School of ArchitectureLectures and Events Committee
2011-2015: Chairman of Cummings School of Architecture Lecture Series
2017: Search Committee Chairman Cummings School of Architecture
2011- : Member, Academic Standards Committee

After having served on the Board of Trustees at the Berklee College of Music for three years, and on the Building and Planning Committee for 6 years after that, Cohen wound down his commitment to Berklee in 2012.

He has continued to lend support to musical and cultural groups by hosting fundraising benefit concerts at his home for Contemporary and Classical non-profit musical groups as follows:
Silk Road Ensemble w/ Yo-Yo Ma / Silk Road cultural foundation : 2017
Boston Musica Viva : 2019,2016,2015
New England Philharmonic Orchestra : 2017

In 2018, he acted as a pro bono consultant to the Cabot Performing Arts Center, Inc. on planning initiatives for the celebration of the centenary of the Cabot Theater in Beverly, MA.

As a past president, Cohen continues to serve on the Board of Governors of the Newton Squash and Tennis Club in Newton, MA.

- To continue to develop expertise in the teaching of architecture through practice, observation of built works and focused reading on theoretical issues pertaining to architectural design and the production of housing.
- To work to integrate sustainable design principles into all architectural production, so as to make sustainable works the normative condition.
- To continue to explore the historical relationship between industry, new town and/or urban developments and congregate housing.
- To continue to practice architecture, making buildings of lasting value, exemplifying the tradition of practice enriching teaching, and teaching enriching practice.
- To develop his skills and knowledge to achieve excellence in education.