Carl Stein – Renewable Energy World North America: “Renewable but Finite”


Renewable Energy

Carl Stein’s article in Renewable Energy World North America ‘Defining Renewable’ segment is available in print and for download now. As Carl concludes: “With remarkable shortsightedness, we have come to believe that the petroleum-era paradigm which was made possible by the availability of plentiful, cheap energy represents the natural order. In fact, it is not sustainable and is tending toward catastrophic results. The shift to renewable energies as our primary resources will reconnect us to the cultural/ethical continuum of humankind; a new paradigm.”

Read the article here. or download PDF .

Construction Update: Shepard Hall, Concrete Underpinning



As construction continues, efforts to utilize the original schist stone entry ramp wall that was recently unearthed continue to make progress. Concrete underpinning (for an explanation of underpinning, click here) along with new steel reinforcement, will allow the original schist stone wall to be incorporated into the new entry design. Meanwhile, as the entry ramp work continues, Elemental Architecture and the team are preparing to commence full scale reconstruction efforts on portions of the main building itself. Stay tuned for continued updates from the field.

Carl Stein Speaks on Sustainable Future for Stony Brook Southampton



Principal founder of elemental, Carl Stein, FAIA, addressed a gathering of local activists, artists, designers, educators, environmentalists, and planners at the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University last Friday, October 9th. The event sparked an effective and engaging dialogue about the sustainable future of the SUNY campus.

In addition to his curation with Marc Fasanella of the visual exhibition held in the Avram Lobby Gallery, Carl addressed the symposium with the following statement on sustainability:

“In order to discuss options for sustainability, one must first decide what is being sustained.  Much of the consideration of global sustainability might actually better be called survivability.  Issues of climate change, food production, availability of clean water and air threaten the continued viability of the human species.

Local efforts toward sustainability will influence the global outlook but are often, appropriately, focused on the impact of actions, whether planned or not, on the special characteristics that are seen to be the essential definers of place.  These characteristics may include cultural, historical and natural aspects.

Increasingly, we are finding that there are resonances between maintenance of place, of genius loci, and global ecological survival.  These result from at least two fundamental conditions.  First, much of what is valued is the result of a long, evolutionary process in which the growth and development of humankind’s habitation of the planet has been informed by interaction with context.  Second, understanding the intrinsic value of what currently exists will produce attitudes which will be far more likely to adapt and reuse rather than demolish and replace – a new paradigm.

A corollary to this new paradigm is that new interventions which are found to be necessary will be more carefully considered and more highly valued.

The forum and exhibition becomes a stepping off point for a program (a) to define those characteristics of eastern Long Island which must be maintained (or which are worthy of maintenance); (b) to identify the ways that maintenance of these characteristics supports ecological sustainability on local, regional and global bases; and (c) to create an action plan to realize specific measure designed to strengthen the characteristics identified in (a).”
– Carl Stein, FAIA

PlaNYC Proposal Calls for Energy Audits of Buildings 50,000 sf or More


According to a NYT article, as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlanNYC, a proposal seeks to employ mandatory energy audits of existing structures of 50,000 square feet or more and requires owners to make certain improvements to make the buildings more energy efficient. James F. Gennaro, chairman of the council’s environmental protection committee and a sponsor of the measures, says “Eighty-five percent of the buildings that we have in 2009 are going to be here in 2030.”

AIA NY Now Exhibit Features Shepard Hall



Last night, the AIA New York help me write my essay Chapter / Center for Architecture took over the West 4th Street subway station for the opening of their New York Now architecture showcase. Elemental Architecture’s historic reconstruction of New York City Landmark Gothic Revival building, Shepard Hall at the City College of New York, is among the work featured in the exhibit.



New York Now includes work of all type and scale – small, large, commercial, residential, public, private, interiors, historic preservation, engineering, landscape and urban design – presenting the scope and quality of projects by Chapter members in New York City today. This high-visibility exhibition offers a snapshot of where we are at this moment and celebrates the diversity of the Chapter’s membership.

The exhibit runs through the end of October. For additional information and online slideshow of work featured, click here.

Invite: Setting the Agenda for a Sustainable Future at Stony Brook Southampton SUNY



Join us for a Conversation with the Community
Friday, October 9th 2009, 7:30pm-9:00pm

Avram Gallery at Stony Brook, Southampton SUNY
Curated by Carl Stein, FAIA & Marc Fasanella
Followed by a reception in the Avram Lobby Gallery introducing the exhibit:
Seeing Southampton Visually Investigating Issues that Affect the Environment of Southampton

As we close the first decade of the 21st Century, we should take stock of how we dwell upon our Earth.  In the spirit of thinking globally and acting locally, a group of colleagues are initiating a dialog with Activists, Architects, Artists, Citizens, Designers, Educators, Environmentalists and Planners who shape the township of Southampton.

The future of Stony Brook Southampton is inextricably linked to the fabric of Southampton Township, the East End of Long Island, and the global dialogue on the environment.  On the evening of October 9th we will host a symposium that brings together a diverse group of concerned individuals to canvas their notions of elements essential to the evolution of the town.  Our goal is to provoke, record, define and present a holistic set of interconnected guiding principles for evolving our community in the 21st century.  On December 13th, we will present an interim summation of this discourse.  During the years to come, we will widen our conversation to an international level.

Contribute your thoughts at this public event! Please RSVP to (631) 632-5161

invite (pdf)


From New York City
Take I-495 (Long Island Expressway) east to Exit 70, then turn right on County Road 111: follow the signs to State Route 27 East/Montauk (Sunrise Highway).  Take Route 27 East (which becomes County Road 39) and proceed 19 miles to Southampton Campus.  Make right at the traffic light onto Tuckahoe Road.  Go past the first entrance on Tuckahoe Road.  Turn right at the next entrance.

From the South Shore
Take the Belt Parkway east, keep left to Exit 25A toward Eastern Long Island.  The Belt Parkway becomes Southern State Parkway.  At Exit 40, take Robert Moses Causeway south toward ocean beaches.  Take Exist RMI toward Route 27 East (Sunrise Highway).  Follow directions from Sunrise Highway (above).

For More Information Contact:

Cindy Baggee
(631) 632-5161
Fine Arts Building
239 Montauk Highway
Southampton, NY  11968

Administration Urges ‘Hard Changes’ in Green Mindset


Director of long-term planning and sustainability for the Bloomberg Administration Rohit Aggarwala tells an audience at The Urban Green Council (the newly renamed NY Chapter of the USGBC) that the building community now needs to address questions that go beyond a property’s design and construction.

Aggarwala cites an important example to consider how a property can be truly green if there are no leasing requirements in place to ensure it’s operated in an eco-friendly manner. At present, there is no standard in place to determine the owner’s or tenant’s responsibilities for sustainable operation. While the general perception of sustainable buildings is  new construction, “if we’re going to make our big cities greener we have to focus on our existing buildings,” Aggarwala said.

Elemental has actively engaged its commercial clients, particularly building Owners and managers, to offer leasing structures which allow ‘green’ tenants to benefit directly from the economic savings of resource conservation. Suggested measures include individually metering electricity, heating, cooling and water use – and allowing the data of their use to be analyzed/displayed in real-time – as well as  energy and resource efficient upgrades for windows and plumbing fixtures which further reduce energy use for heating, cooling, domestic hot water and circulation. Individual tenant metering means that each tenant can reap the dollar savings resulting from those energy upgrades. In short, energy conservation by Owners can translate into economic benefits for every tenant.

Read more on Aggarwala’s address here:

Construction Update: Shepard Hall Original Entry Wall Fully Revealed



Along with the recently unearthed entry stairs, a major portion of the original entry wall has been unearthed. Following inspection, the team is now evaluating how this remnant of the original entry can be incorporated into the reconstruction. The wall, constructed of Manhattan schist likely from the building site, was buried under fill during a mid-twentieth century alteration. As part of the reconstruction efforts to the entire building, a new entry in keeping with George Post’s original entry is being created. Stay tuned for continued updates from the field.

Piazza Sebastiano Satta on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations



On this week’s episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Tony travels to his wife’s homeland of Sardinia.  During the episode, the Bourdain family spends time walking through Piazza Sebastiano Satta designed by the late Richard Stein, FAIA (father and partner to elemental founder Carl Stein) and noted Sardinian sculptor Constantino Nivola in 1966. From the scenes in the show, the piazza appears to have changed very little from its original design.


Other collaborations between Nivola and Richard Carl Stein include Stephen Wise Plaza on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, PS 55 in Staten Island and The Combined Police & Fire Facility on East 67th Street – winner of an Integration of Sculpture in Public Architecture Award from the NYC Art Commission.

Read more on Nivola’s contributions and collaborations to public architecture here.

USD/CBRE Study Finds That Employees in Green Buildings Are More Productive


Researchers at the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and CB Richard Ellis have found that employees who work in green buildings are more productive than their counterparts who work in non-green buildings. Green buildings were defined as those that are LEED-certified at any level or those that bear the Energy Star label.

In the study, researchers Norm Miller, Ph.D., academic director at the Burnham-Moores Center, and David Pogue, national director of sustainability at CBRE, surveyed 154 green buildings nationwide containing over 2,000 tenants, 534 of which participated in the study. The study is the largest of its kind by far; a 2003 study looked at productivity levels in just 33 green buildings. Miller and Pogue used two measurements of productivity: sick days and the self-reported productivity percentage change after moving into a new building.

Forty-five percent of respondents reported that they had experienced an average of 2.88 fewer sick days at their new, green office location vs. their previous non-green office location. An equal amount noted no effect, while 10 percent reported more sick days. The 10 percent that reported more sick days were residents of Energy Star-labeled, not LEED-certified buildings. Unlike LEED buildings, Energy Star buildings do not have air quality requirements.

Based on the average salary of the tenants, an office space of 250 square feet per worker and 250 workdays a year, the 2.88 fewer sick days translate into a net impact of $4.91 per employee, according to the authors.

On the self-reported productivity measure, 12 percent of respondents said that they strongly agree that employees were more productive in green buildings, 42.5 percent agreed that employees were more productive and 45 percent noted no change in productivity. According to the authors’ calculations, the increase in productivity translates into a net impact of $20.82 per employee, based on an office space of 250 square feet per worker and using average salary as an index.

For the full study, go to

SOURCE Burnham-Moores Center at the University of San Diego