Rodney Mims Cook Jr.

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Rodney Mims Cook Jr. Rodney-mims-cook-jr
Born Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Residence Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Washington and Lee University (BA)
Parent(s) Rodney Mims Cook Sr.
Website Rodney Mims Cook Jr.

Rodney Mims Cook Jr., an authority on classical architecture, urban planning and education, served as both an early board member of New York’s Institute of Classical Architecture and Art as well as a founding trustee of the Prince of Wales’s American Foundation, a 501(c)(3) in the US. He established the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture in the United States, accredited by the University of Virginia and coordinated the design and construction of the Prince of Wales’s World Athletes Monument to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, during which time Cook developed close ties to fellow classicist Prince Charles. He is a charter signer of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Cook is currently orchestrating the design for a memorial library in Washington, D.C. to Presidents John and John Quincy Adams and their wives Abigail and Louisa Johnson Adams. Cook’s design proposal with co-designer Michael Franck won the 2011 commendation prize for the National Civic Art Society Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, also for Washington, D.C. Cook is the founder and president of the National Monuments Foundation, an organization that choreographed the design and construction of the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta.[1][2]

Early life and education

Cook’s interest in and involvement with activism began at an early age. His father, the Honorable Rodney Mims Cook Sr., was a supporter of the Civil Rights movement and a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Cook Sr.'s eulogy in the House Chamber was delivered by The Honorable Joe Wilkinson. His mother, Bettijo, moved and then restored the antebellum historic plantation plain-style Tullie-Smith House to the grounds of the Atlanta History Center. As a result of such influence, at the age of 14 Cook initiated a campaign to successfully save the 5000+ seat Fox Theatre, the nation’s second largest, and was subsequently awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation Prize by trust President James Biddle. Cook served as a White House intern in 1974 under President Richard Nixon. He was influenced by architect Philip Shutze, acclaimed in 1978 by architecture classicist Henry Hope Reed as America's greatest living classical architect. Shutze designed three homes of various members of Cook's family and guided him in his architecture education and critiqued his early work. A graduate of The Lovett School and Washington and Lee University, Cook obtained a BA degree focused on architecture, history and politics.[3]

Career

In 1982, Rodney Cook established Rodney Mims Cook Interests, a design/development company and PolitesCook Architects in 1987, which designed the Newington Cropsey Museum in New York City. His Cropsey Museum brought him to the attention of the Prince of Wales and his foundation for architecture and Cook subsequently organized the design and construction of the Princes’ Olympic Games monument in Atlanta with Anton Glikin. He is a co-founder of VIMtrek[4] technology. He is on the boards of directors of the Hearst Foundation/Hearst Castle, California, The FOX Theatre Inc., the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, The New York Philomusica, The Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, the National Monuments Foundation, Historic Mims Park, Atlanta, and is a past president of both the Animal Health Trust U.S., Newmarket, England and WPBA/WABE, Public Broadcasting Atlanta.[5]

Cook’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, Time Magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times of London, Pravda, Izvestia, The New Yorker, The Weekly Standard, Forbes, and USA Today.[5]

Cook was involved in the creation of the Carnegie-Cook Center for the Arts (formally called Plum Orchard Center for the Arts) to be located on Cumberland Island, Georgia with his friend John F. Kennedy Jr. The premature death of JFK Jr., a fellow board member, ended this project.[6] Cook spoke at his funeral in July 1999.[7]

In May 2008, Cook opened the Millennium Gate Museum, which is the largest classical monument erected in the U.S. since the Jefferson Memorial.[8]

In November 2008, Rodney Cook was part of a delegation who, along with the Mayor of Atlanta, travelled to the UK to visit HRH Prince Charles. They discussed the rebuilding of Historic Mims Park in Atlanta and the possibility of the Prince of Wales' involvement given his background in urban design. A video outlining the trip can be found here.

Rodney Cook testified before Congress on behalf of the National Monuments Foundation in 2012 concerning the proposed plans for a new Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. Cook's testimony can be viewed here.

In November 2015, he was a keynote speaker at the "Master Plan for 21st Century Havana" Conference, which for the first time in Cuban history, Cuban citizens and international scholars and urbanists participated together to develop an independent and comprehensive holistic vision for the entire city.

Personal life

Rodney Mims Cook Jr. is married to Emily Robinson Cook. Emily Cook, a commercial photographer, is responsible for the creation of the largest wildlife sanctuary in the city of Atlanta.[9] They have two daughters, and the family resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Controversy

In 2017, groundbreaking began on Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Historic Vine City. In his role with the National Monuments Foundation, and having been compelled by Cook Sr. on his deathbed to rebuild the park,[10] Rodney Mims Cook Jr. is involved in the design and development of the park. The park was originally set to be named "Historic Mims Park" after Rodney Mims Cook Jr.'s ancestor, Livingston Mims, who built the park in 1899. [11]. However, due to backlash from outside the community, and despite Mayor Mims having built Atlanta's first integrated park, the Vine City community asked the Atlanta City Council to change the name of the park to honor Cook's father. The Mims name is contentious, since Livingston Mims was a Confederate officer, and the park is again to be situated in a predominately African American neighborhood.[12]

Recognitions

Cook's organization, the National Monuments Foundation, received the 2006 Palladio Award for best new public space in the United States for the Peace and Justice Gate and Plaza.[13] He also received The Atlanta City Council Award for The Prince of Wales’s Centennial Olympics Monument.[14] Cook and his organization Youth for the Fox were awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservations Prize in 1974 for saving the 5000+ seat Fox Theater in Atlanta. Cook's design of the Newington-Cropsey Museum resulted in an Arthur Ross Award for Patronage in 1997 to Barbara Newington.[15] The Newington-Cropsey Museum was also awarded a New York Citation by Governor Mario Cuomo.[16] Cook and Michael Franck have received a National Civic Art Society board of directors commendation for their proposed design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, in Washington, D.C.[17] The City of Atlanta honored Cook's family and their service to the city and the State of Georgia in December 2011. YouTube video part 1 YouTube video part 2

References

  1. ^ Athens on the Interstate, - The New Yorker
  2. ^ An Elaborate Arch, an Opaque Significance – New York Times
  3. ^ The Prince of Wales's Monument Information, - ThenMF.org
  4. ^ VIMtrek.com,
  5. ^ a b Rodney Mims Cook - Curriculum Vitae, - RodneyMimsCook.com
  6. ^ JFK Jr. helped put Cumberland on the map, - jacksonville.com
  7. ^ Memorial Service for JFK Jr – YouTube.com
  8. ^ Arc de Dixie, - Forbes.com
  9. ^ My pleasant interlude at the Dacha, - Projo.com
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d4FPFeM2mA
  11. ^ http://rollingout.com/2016/08/25/atlantans-outraged-park-black-community-named-confederate-hero/
  12. ^ http://news.wabe.org/post/atlanta-park-confederate-major-and-struggle-history
  13. ^ 2006 Palladio Price for Best new Public Space, - palladioawards.com
  14. ^ Atlanta City Council Award, - Pg. 6
  15. ^ Arthur Ross Award, - classicist.org
  16. ^ New York Citation, - Governor Mario Cuomo
  17. ^ "National Civic Art Society". Civicart.org. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
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