John Elliott

 

John Elliott

Associate Professor
3425 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
 
Phone: (607) 255-9714 Fax: (607) 255-0305
Email: jre15@cornell.edu
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Curriculum Vitae
 
Biographical Statement:

I have three areas of expertise in teaching, involving three types of design literacies. These are visual literacy in design (DEA 1101), industrial literacy in design (DEA 4300) and ecological literacy in design (DEA 4220).

My research interests are related to the idea of "Nature inside" both in a theoretical and a practical sense. In the theoretical domain, I am interested in the aspects of material culture of the built environment that express a society's set of values as they pertain to the natural world, especially regarding environmental ethics and aesthetics. I am currently working on a global history of environmental thought as expressed through design.

In the practical sense, I am interested in "pulling" technology through the physical project situated in a real world context. I use the prototype as a stimulant for design discourse, a conductor for technological developments, and an exemplar for commercial enterprise. These prototypes range in scale from the artifact to the edifice; from a pair of benches installed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to a bamboo space-framed outdoor classroom in the Dominican Republic. I am also interested in material science research and have been investigating the effects of carbon sequestration on the structural strength of concrete. Finally, I have been creating a body of sculptural works in wood as a form of public outreach regarding various local environmental issues.

 
Teaching and Advising Statement:

Through my time at Cornell, I have found that the best way for students to learn is through active participation in the educational experience. This is as true for the classroom as it is for the studio. It is important that they invest in what and how they learn, whenever possible. I try to help them achieve their goals but to standards that I establish, including the social and environmental dimensions, along with the aesthetic and conceptual considerations.

Advisement is an important process in assiting the student to reach their individual academic goals. This requires a close listening to the student's ideas, as well as a broad awareness of the course offerings both inside and outside of the College. It requires knowledge of the various off-campus learning options and opportunities, for this often is the most memorable part of a student's experience at Cornell.

 
Current Professional Activities:

Member, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED accredited professional

Reviewer, Journal of Green Building, ISBN 1552-6100

 
Current Research Activities:

I am interested in the idea of "Nature inside" both in a theoretical sense and in a practical sense. In the theoretical domain, he is interested in those aspects of material culture of the built environment that express a society's set of values as they pertain to the natural world, especially regarding environmental ethics and aesthetics. I am currently working on a book "Opus Natura: A global history of thought about nature and the built environment".

In the practical domain, I use the physical project to "pull" technology in a real world context to produce meaningful works. The project prototype is used as a stimulant for design discourse, a conductor for technological developments, and an exemplar for commercial enterprise. Specifically, I have been producing a body of studio furniture works designed to heighten awareness of various environmental issues. Much of this work is featured in public spaces such as the Naitonal Mall in Washington D.C. or in Cornell University buildings. However, most recently, I have turned to sculpture as a medium for expression of these ideas. My "Arbortecture" works are exploring the intimate relations between people, trees, and buildings. They have been exhibited at many galleries and museums throughout the Northeast, including the Johnson Museum at Cornell and the Sculpture Center in Cleveland. Additionally, a number of pieces have been commissioned for public art on Cornell campus.

Concurrently, in more technical forms of research, I am working on two separate initiatives. The first is developing a new wood-based structural system called "Triakonta", designed for disassembly and carbon-sequestration. A quarter-scale version has been prototyped for furniture production, featured in an international exhibition on seating for the 21st century. A full scale, bamboo-based version was used to create an outdoor classroom in 2015 and is currently being field tested in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Finally, the Triakonta system is being used to construct community buildings to assist in the earthquake recovery program for the Phukri Ridge in Nepal.

The second technical initiative is material science research into the effects of carbon sequestration on the structural properties of portland cement-based concrete. We have been able to produce a carbon-neutral formulation while retaining enough compressive strength to be considered a controlled low-strength material for civic works or a K-type mortar for masonry. This could have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions associated with the concrete industry.

 
Current Public Engagement Activities:

In 2016, I became involved with the Cornell-Nepal Study Program, administered through Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. In the fall semester, research was conducted for a new prototypical "women's community building" for the Phyukhri Ridge region of Nepal. Final designs and prototyping will commence in 2017.

 
Education:
  • M.Environmental Design (Architeciture) 1993 - University of Calgary
  • M.Environmental Design (Industrial Design) - 1991 - University of Calgary
  • Post-graduate studies (Design) - 1979 - Univeristy of Alberta
  • B.Sc. (Physics, sculpture minor) 1978 - University of Alberta
     

 
Courses Taught:
  1. DEA 1101 - Interior Design Studio I (requisite for DEA undergrads, 1998-present)
  2. DEA 2030 - Digital Communications (requisite for DEA undergrads, 1998 - 2008)
  3. DEA 4010 - Special Topics in Sustainable Design
  4. DEA 4080 - Interior Design Studio VIII (2000, 2007)
  5. DEA 4402 - Interior Design Studio VIII (Green Group, 2010)
  6. DEA 4220 - Ecological Literacy and Design (co-requisite for DEA undergrads, 2001-2014)
  7. DEA 4221 - Philosophies of Nature and Design in the European Context (2009-2012)
  8. DEA 4223 - Field Studies in Eco-design (2009-2012)
  9. DEA 6010 - Directed Graduate Readings (2011)
  10. DEA 6100 - Introduction to Design Theory (requistie for DEA grads, 2014-present)
  11. VISST 1101 - Design Studio I (cross-listed with DEA 1101)
  12. ARCH 4610 - Ecological Literacy and Design (cross-listed with DEA 4220, 2001-2014)

 
Related Websites:

DEA 1101 Course Website
http://courses.cit.cornell.edu/courses/dea1101
DEA 2030 Course Website
http://courses.cit.cornell.edu/courses/dea2030
DEA 4220 Course Website
http://courses.cit.cornell.edu/courses/dea4220

Personal Portfolio
http://jackelliott.human.cornell.edu/

 
Administrative Responsibilities:

Director of the Arborworks research space and activities in the High Volt Lab, 909 Mitchell Street, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. (2012-present)

Member of the College of Human Ecology's Comittee on Academic Standing (2014-present)

 
Selected Publications:

Elliott, J. 2016. “Triakonta25-WBC (Wingback Chair)”, On the Edge of Your Seat: Chairs for the 21st Century, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen PA, pp. 138-141.

Elliott, J. 2015. “Triakonta BB100: Dynamic Systemization Meets Big Bamboo”, Proceedings of the inaugural AIA/ACSA Intersections Symposium, Intersections Between the Academy and Practice: Applied Research in Architecture Education That Advances Practice. May 13, Atlanta, GA. 12% acceptance rate.

Elliott, J. 2014. "Victus Acernis by Jack Elliott". https://vimeo.com/110270976. Published October 28, by Cornell Plantations, Ithaca, NY.

Elliott, J. 2013. "REDD+ Talks - Jack Elliott, Cornell University",  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz5CLwfeWn4, Published May 9, 2013 by Wildlife Works, Sausalito, CA.

Elliott, J. 2013. "“Jack Elliott speaks about Samothracae”, Memorial Art Gallery Audio Files, iTunes podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/memorial-art-gallery-audio/id283512968. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Elliott, J. 2010. "The Triakonta Structural System: From Toy to Tower", Proceedings from the 2010 SWST International Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.

Rider, T.R., Elliott, J. “Education, Environmental Attitudes and the Design Professions” in Selected Papers of the ARCC 2007 Research Conference, ARCC Journal, vol. 4, no.2, 2007.

Elliott, J., Brown, M. “Green vs. Grey: Energy Performances of Two Olympic Speed Skating Ovals”, Journal of Architecture and Planning Research, vol.24, no. 2, Summer 2007.

Kosheleva, E., Elliott, J. 2006. “Green Building in the Russian Context: An Investigation into the Establishment of a LEED®-based Green Building Rating”, Journal of Green Building, vol.1: no. 3, Summer 2006.

Elliott, J. 2004. “Considering the Natural: Reconciling Eco-ethics and Aesthetics in the Practice of Design”, Journal of Design Philosophy Papers, no. 2.

Elliott, J. 2003. “Eco-ethics, Aesthetics and the Paradox of Informed Negligence”, Proceedings from the 2003 ACSA International Conference, Helsinki, Finland.

Elliott, J; Yoon, H. 2002. "A Green Analysis of SMED, Inc. lifeSPACE Product", Ithaca, New York.

Elliott, J. 2001 "Ergo Versus Eco: A Tale of Two Centricities", Proceedings of 45th Human Factors and Ergonomic Society National Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Elliott, J. 2001 "Mumbling and Stumbling: Paradoxes of Green Design Practice", Proceedings from 89th Annual Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture National Conference, Baltimore, Maryland.

Elliott, J. 2001 "Adirondack Rustic Furniture Industry: Surveys and Prospects", Adirondack Journal Of Environmental Studies, Vol.6, No.1, Paul Smiths College, New York.

Elliott, J. 2000 "Out Through the In(Doors): New Approaches To Green Interior Design Education", In.Form: Journal of Interior Design, vol.1, no.1, University Of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Elliott, J. 2000 "Columena: A Prototype for Sustainable Product Design", Second Place, Idec National Conference, Juried Competition For Creative Works.

Elliott, J. 1999. Reflecting Nature: Artificing as a Biophilic Response. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference on Design, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Pope, S., Elliott, J., Turbini, L. 1998. Designing for Technological Obsolescence and Discontinuous Change: An Evaluation of Three Secessional Electronic Products. Electronics and the Environment, Proceedings of the 1998 IEEE.

Elliott, J. 1997. The Blur: A Catalyst for Conceptualization. Blurring Boundaries, Proceedings of the 1997 Design Education Conference.

Elliott, J. 1997. The Warm Springs Chair and Table: The Evolution of an Idea. The Humane Village, Proceedings of the 20th Congress of ICSID, 1997.

 
Selected Keywords:
sustainability, regenerative design, DfE, ecological design, architecture, interior design, furniture design, rusticity, LEED, arbortecture, eco-philosophy, Triakonta, sculpture.

 
The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.