Cynthia Coop (nee Bookbinder) was born in Winnipeg. She attended St. John's Technical High School. graduated from the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture, with a Bachelor of Interior Design in 1950. She received a University Gold Medal. In 1963, she returned to the University, in the Interior Design department, where she taught design, graphic presentation and theory, and developed a lecture series on contemporary art, design and architecture. In 1989, Coop retired, having achieved the rank of associate professor.
During her academic career, Cynthia Coop continued to practise, carrying out numerous large and diverse projects, including the New Provincial Law Courts and the main floor interiors of the Lombard Commerce building. Coop felt strongly that the partnership of practice and teaching fostered credibility and respect for educators.
She also participated fully in the cultural and extracurricular life of the faculty and was a dedicated volunteer in both the University and larger community. Coop served for six years as an elected Alumni Representative to the Board of Governors, serving on the executive and numerous committees.
She was a founding member of the Urban Idea Centre of Winnipeg (a Faculty of Architecture initiative), and was on its executive from 1989 to 1995. She held board positions with numerous cultural arts organisations including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Manitoba Arts Council. In support of her own profession, Coop served as director of the Interior Designers of Canada Foundation, serving as Vice-President from 1998-2000.
Cynthia Coop was married to Winnipeg architect Isadore (Issy) Coop.