Westbeth Center for the Arts


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.

Shepard Hall Reconstruction at CCNY


As the largest project of its kind anywhere in the world, this $150 million dollar reconstruction of a 400,000 SF historic landmark is now in its final phase of completion. Shepard Hall opened in 1907 as the first building built for public higher education in New York. The reconstruction work has been performed for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) acting as agent for the City University of New York (CUNY). Exterior work included rebuilding the entire building shell including replacement of approximately 72,000 different pieces of ornamental terra cotta with new durable thin-shell GFRC. Interior work included restoration of the 14,000 square foot Great Hall, ornate meeting rooms and interior stairs. The project has also restored the five major building entrances.

Research, design and construction was begun by The Stein Partnership in 1986. Between 1997 and 2006 Construction Document reorganization and Construction Administration shifted to Stein White Architects and Stein White Nelligan Architects; and since 2006, all work, including the design of the entry restorations, has been by Elemental Architecture. Throughout the project, Carl Stein has been principal-in-charge.

This building, now restored to its place as the centerpiece of the City University of New York’s main campus, has received wide recognition including the New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Award and has been written about extensively. In 2011, the project was the subject of the keynote address at the international GFRC Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.

Project Data
Client: The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York + City University of New York
Project Size: 400,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $150,000,000 (all phases)
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: Ongoing

Hudson Clearwater Restaurant


Opened in December 2010, this neighborhood hotspot quickly earned international recognition for both its culinary excellence and distinguished design as the “hidden-gem” of the West Village. The intention from the beginning was to create a restaurant that felt like a home; where the experience of coming to dine would feel like going to a private dinner at a friend’s charmingly restored historic manor. The extensive build-out process involved structurally stabilizing the 1826 historic-landmarked Greenwich Village carriage house and stripping away layers of architectural abuse to reveal the beauty of the historic bones beneath, thereby converting the space from a former insurance office and trash dump to a quintessential local restaurant favorite.

Large portions of the rear facade were demolished allowing for the installation of expansive french casement windows and doors, opening the restaurant interiors to lush garden plantings and cobbled brick pavers which replaced the former concrete trash slab. The cellar was excavated and floors reframed to create a multi-level dining space with new entry stairs from the rear garden and down to private wine cellar dining below. The original wood floors and beams were salvaged and repurposed to create a large wooden chef’s counter at the open kitchen, sliding wooden barn doors, and decorative trim throughout the interiors. In addition to recycling many of the materials found on site, wood was salvaged from local demolition projects, and low VOC environmentally-friendly paints and sealers were utilized throughout. Double-insulated windows and energy-efficient lighting, exhaust, heating, air conditioning and hot water systems were implemented in-keeping with the sustainable and socially-conscious mission of the restaurant.

Project Data
Client: Village Restaurant Group LLC
Project Size: 1,200 square feet
Construction Cost: Private
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 2010

Great Hall at City College of New York


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

Combined FDNY & NYPD Facility


Serving both the New York City Police and Fire Departments, the Combined Police and Fire Facility is a new building which incorporates two Landmarked 19th-century facades. The original fire headquarters required the replacement of all brownstone ornament with new cast stone. Sustainable features include the adaptive reuse of landmark facades and HVAC systems using scheduling controls and occupancy sensors. The project has received several awards including the Lucy G. Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy and New York City Art Commission.

Project Data
Client: The City of New York Department of Design & Construction + NYPD + FDNY
Construction Cost: $18,000,000
Services: Full Architectural Services
Completed: 1991