Elizabeth O’Donnell is a professor, proportional-time, at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. She served as Associate Dean for the School from 2001–2019, and as Acting Dean from 2013–2015. A member of the faculty since 1984, O’Donnell has taught Structures I, Structures II, the project-based Crossings course (using the actual construction of 41 Cooper Square as the subject), and Design II and Design III as a teaching team member. She has participated in juries and conferences both nationally and internationally, recently as a presenter at the President’s Forum and the Design Forum at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts 100th Anniversary Summit (2018); as the design moderator for the Laskey Charette at the College of Architecture of Washington University (2017); and as a juror for the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation Aerial Gondola Design Competition (2016), the ACSA/AISC Steel Student Design Competition (2016), the Bamiyan Cultural Center Design Competition (UNESCO Afghanistan, 2015), and the Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition (2015). She was an advisor to students who designed and built five models for the Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 exhibition (2018-19) at the Museum of Modern Art. She served on the Executive Committee for the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY Festival (2011-2017), and has served as a Public Director and a member of the Scholarship and the Awards Committees of the AIA New York Chapter.
In practice, O’Donnell has completed numerous residential and commercial projects in New York City, with an emphasis on the adaptive reuse of existing buildings and sites. She has worked with artists including Yoko Ono and Tadashi Kawamata on realizing site-specific projects. Her work has been recognized with awards for Design Excellence from the AIA New York Chapter and for Design Distinction from International Design magazine. She serves on the Zoning Commission of the Town of Taghkanic (NY), which is charged with rewriting the zoning code to foster economic opportunity while sustaining rural character and the town’s abundant natural resources.
O’Donnell graduated from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union after studying at the University of Minnesota and Antioch College, and holds an MSEd from Baruch College of the City University of New York.