Archive for 2010

Carl Stein to Deliver Inaugural Lecture for the AIA Oculus Book Talk Series

Carl Stein, FAIA, principal of Elemental Architecture, has been selected to deliver the inaugural lecture for the AIA Oculus Book Talk Series on his recent publication ‘Greening Modernism’ at New York City’s Center for Architecture on Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 6:00pm. (more…)

Elemental Hosts ‘Greening Modernism’ Launch Party


Last Thursday, December 9th, Elemental hosted the launch party for principal founder Carl Stein’s new book “Greening Modernism”. Tom Stoelker of the Architect’s Newspaper writes: bodacious bourbon pours complimented savory vittles at the yet-to-be-opened Hudson Clearwater in Greenwich Village last night. The restaurant’s first event launched Carl Stein’s new book, Greening Modernism: preservation, sustainability and the modern movement (W.W. Norton, $60.00). (more…)

Elemental’s Historic Reconstruction of Shepard Hall Featured by The Architects Newspaper


In Detail> City College’s masterpiece Shepard Hall gets a long-awaited restoration, gargoyles and all.  (more…)

Elemental Featured in AIANY’s ‘Made in New York’ Exhibit


This week the AIA New York Chapter / Center for Architecture took over the West 4th Street subway station to present Made in New York – an architectural showcase of projects by Chapter members. Elemental Architecture’s new Private Residence in Croton-on-Hudson is among the work featured in the exhibit. (more…)

NYT – When Green Building Is Not Green Enough: A Response

Mr. Zeller writes in his NY Times “Green” Blog post “When Green Building Is Not Green Enough” that “the nation’s building stock plays a bigger role in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions than many Americans might realize.” This is only true (a) because many Americans have chosen to ignore information that has been widely available for at least four decades and (b) powerful business and social interests have conducted a massive campaign of misinformation in order to maintain positions of economic and political power.

Affordable Housing & Sustainable Action

The LA Times article –,0,588562.story – addressing the intersection of affordable housing and sustainable action raises a number of significant challenges as well as highlighting several relatively successful solutions.  Unfortunately, two conclusions, stated or implied, interfere with the simplest, most effective short-term strategies for greening our society. (more…)

Commemorating The First Women’s Rights Convention


On July 19th and 20th 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention was held, resulting in the drafting of the Declaration of Sentiments which became the foundation for the struggle for full equality for women, including the right to vote which was not granted until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920. The 1848 Convention was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, NY.

Two Elemental Projects in latest AIA Guide to NYC


Elemental is pleased to announce that two projects have been selected for the latest edition of the AIA Guide to New York City. (more…)

St. Vincent’s (A Lesson Learned the Hard Way)

The precipitous collapse of St. Vincent’s came as a shock to many, if not most Village residents. It shouldn’t have. Despite the dense obfuscation by the hospital’s administration, there were adequate signs for all to see. While there is little to be gained from finger-pointing, understanding what went wrong offers valuable lessons for addressing future issues facing the Village, other historic districts and communities throughout the City. Land is a finite resource and land within historic districts is a particularly scarce finite resource. Institutions, such as hospitals and schools, which deliver services on a face-to-face basis need space from which to deliver these services. (more…)

Elemental Announces Michelle Black, AIA as Associate

New York (06.21.2010) – Elemental Architecture, a firm recognized for its pioneering work in sustainable architecture, design and advocacy, has announced the promotion of Catherine Michelle Black, AIA, LEED AP to Associate. Having joined elemental in 2006, Michelle oversees project teams to define, develop and coordinate issues of programming, design, construction and engineering. Currently, Ms. Black is managing the construction phase of the precedent setting historic reconstruction of Shepard Hall at the City College of New York – the largest project of its kind in the world, as well as the design of a new addition for the Cornell Cooperative Extension Headquarters in Ithaca, New York.

In addition to her architectural experience and skills, Michelle brings to elemental a life-long commitment to social activism. This commitment, which led her to first think about architecture’s place both in nature and the larger human community, has sparked her involvement with a range of organizations and initiatives—from providing art therapy to children at New York City’s Foundling Hospital to meeting with congressional leaders in Washington D.C. to discuss increased homeless services.

Ms. Black received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas with a concentration in Environmental Studies where she was named a Kansas State Honor Scholar and was a recipient of an Undergraduate Research Award for her development of an early online resource created to educate students and professionals about the principles and practices of sustainable design. Her studies also included a fellowship at the Universitaat Stuttgart, Germany to study green architecture as a cultural practice.

About elemental

elemental is an award-winning New York City based collaborative consisting of Elemental Architecture LLC & Sine Elemental LLC joined by an inherent commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Founded on over 40-years of research and experience in energy-conscious design, current elemental projects include a high-performance addition and renovations to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County, in Ithaca NY; the $150 million Historic Reconstruction of Shepard Hall for the City College of New York; Interior design and identity & media for Greenhouse 26, projected to be New York City’s first ‘green’ boutique hotel as well as several private residential projects throughout New York. elemental is located at 154 West 14th Street, New York, NY 212.616.4110

Commemorating Walt Whitman’s 191st Birthday


Yesterday, May 31st, commemorated Walt Whitman’s 191st birthday. His modest birth-home, a farmhouse,  is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our design of the adjacent interpretative center was conceived to shelter the farmhouse and visitor experience from the bustle of twenty-first century Long Island; the natural and built environments are joined with the presentation of cultural history through a curving cedar wall time-line that starts within the exhibit space and leads across the grounds to a point directly in front of the house where Walt Whitman was born.

New York Times Op-Ed: Don’t LEED Us Astray

In the May 19th issue of the #NYTimes, Alec Appelbaum writes a well positioned Op-Ed piece on the question of green, LEED-rated buildings potentially loosing their luster once in full operation.  Mr. Appelbaum essentially promotes the idea of a creating an incentive program for buildings to go beyond LEED certification, a benchmark that many new construction projects can achieve, and that those buildings should receive credits/subsidies to maintain and promote further energy and resource conservation – a position we fully support. (more…)

Invitation – Westbeth Artists Housing 40th Anniversary Celebration

You are cordially invited to join the Westbeth Artists Housing Association in celebrating its 40th Anniversary and designation as a National Historic Landmark on Monday, May 3, 2010.

South Jamaica Branch Library – AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award


In recognition of Earth Day, the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE) annually recognizes the Top Ten Green Projects in the profession. The COTE Top Ten Award is considered by many as the best recognition program for sustainable design excellence. In 2000, the South Jamaica Branch library was honored to have been selected as a winner of this prestigious award. It is one of only five such projects in New York City. It was also the first building designed under the NYC High Performance Building Guidelines. (more…)

Construction Update: Shepard Hall TSRU Models


Fabrication has begun of the models needed for the production molds for the thin-shell replicas that will replace the deteriorated terra cotta. Together with the previous nine phases, more than 60,000 pieces have been replaced making this by far the largest historic reconstruction of its kind in the world. (more…)

Carl Stein to Speak at AIANY Symposium


Carl Stein, FAIA will speak as part of the “Modernism by Choice: The Economy, Politics, and Sustainability of Preservation” symposium this Saturday at AIANY Center for Architecture. The symposium is in conjunction with the World Monuments Fund’s “Modernism at Risk” exhibition on view at the Center through May 1, 2010. See here for more information on the exhibit. (more…)

FDNY Rescue 1 in The Architect’s Newspaper


Aaron Seward of the ‘Architect’s Newspaper’ discusses our design of Rescue Company 1 as the first among a new generation of firehouses for elite FDNY companies.  Read the post here. (more…)

Construction Update: Shepard Hall Entry Ramp & Facade Work


Entry Ramp Takes Shape:
Central to the entry redesign is the reconstruction of the original ground floor entrance. In addition to the salvaged schist stone wall, concrete retaining walls form the stair opening leading down to the original lower level stone arch entry.  Earth and gravel fill are compacted to serve as a supporting base for the new concrete stair slab. (more…)