Westbeth Center for the Arts

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The Westbeth Center for the Arts is the largest affordable housing community dedicated to artists in the world. With nearly 400 residences, the community is among the first examples of adaptive reuse of an industrial building into residential use. The NYC Landmark complex, occupying an entire city block, was originally the site of the Bell Laboratories and converted to artists’ housing by Richard Meier in 1970.

Elemental, serving as both the Building Architect and Owner’s Representative, has completed or overseen projects at various scales within the complex ranging from the development of a historic window replacement campaign and Local Law 11 restoration, analyses for energy efficient upgrades of the physical plant, ADA modifications and tenant-related renovations up through large-scale commercial tenant and zoning feasibility studies. Following Super Storm Sandy, Elemental has assisted in implementing various resiliency measures and redesigning new artists’ studios & facilities that had been damaged or destroyed.

South Jamaica Branch Library

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The first building designed and constructed under the NYC High Performance Building Guidelines, this 14,000 SF $3.1 million project includes rooftop light-monitors which provide indirect daylighting with automated shading and lighting controls, integrated direct solar gain and gravity exhaust systems. The project received the Committee for the Environment Top Ten Award from the national AIA and has been featured by numerous publications as among New York City’s first “green” buildings.

Research, design and construction documents were by The Stein Partnership and construction administration was by Stein White Architects, predecessor firms to Elemental Architecture. Carl Stein, FAIA was principal-in-charge throughout.

Project Data
Client: New York City Department of Design & Construction + Queens Borough Public Library
Project Size: 14,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $3,100,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1999

Great Hall at City College of New York

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The $12.8 million restoration of the 14,000 sf Great Hall was made necessary by deteriorated structural elements, a severely inadequate mechanical system and crumbling floors. The scope of work allowed the introduction of modern, state of the art acoustic and lighting systems which make the grand assembly space available for a wide variety of programs ranging from lectures and musical performances to commercial film and television shoots. The work also included the refurbishment of twelve sixty-foot stained glass windows, extensive repair of the elaborate decorative plaster and woodwork, and newly designed limestone floor and new control booth. The restoration received the Lucy G. Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Project Data
Client: The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York + City University of New York
Project Size: 14,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $12,800,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1997

Earth Institure Center for Environmental Sustainability | Columbia University

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The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability – EICES (formerly the Center for Environmental Research & Conservation – CERC) on the campus of Columbia University, is a consortium of Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Wildlife Preservation Trust International.

This interdisciplinary education and research facility incorporates offices, laboratories, a library and rooftop research greenhouses. The design uses materials of low environmental impact and maximizes the use of daylight throughout the center. The three-level, 18,000 sf, $1.8 million project was featured on the cover of Interior Design magazine.

“In developing [EICES], we have blended a strong environmental theme with a new way of using academic space.” -Don Melnick, Executive Director

Project Data
Project Size: 18,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $1,800,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1997
Credits: Consulting Architects: BNK Architects; Photography: Paul Warchol

Walt Whitman Historic Birthplace Visitor's Center

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The cross section of the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center serves as a gateway to the site surrounding the house where Walt Whitman was born. The facility admits controlled daylight and segregates hot air for exhaust during swing seasons, minimizing the need for air conditioning. The use of exposed structure dramatically reduced the need for applied architectural finishes while establishing a vocabulary that is sympathetic to the early nineteenth century birthplace house. Exhibits on the wall form a reverse time line, beginning with the mature Whitman who is most familiar and leads back through his formative years to his birth point.

Project Data
Client: Walt Whitman Historic Birthplace
Construction Cost: $520,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1996

Women’s Rights National Historic Park & Visitor's Center

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A collaboration between design competition winners Ray Kinoshita and Ann Marshall, this $8.5 million project uses site elements and building fragments to create a place of contemplation and reflection. The project was developed to create a gateway into the town of Seneca Falls, NY. The plan and the materials weave the site into the urban fabric while also marking the Wesleyan Chapel site as an important historic monument.
The Women’s Rights National Historic Park has been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts Federal Design Achievement Award as well as local and state awards.

Project Data
Client: National Park Service
Construction Cost: $8,500,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1993