Elisabeth Martin, FAIA, Principal

em-headshotElisabeth Martin, FAIA has practiced architecture for over thirty years, with experience over a range of building types, new and restored, including a focus on facilities planning. As a partner in NYC-based design studio MDA designgroup Architects &  Planners, she leads the Institutional and Residential project teams. Prior to joining MDA designgroup in 2003, Ms. Martin served as the Director of Planning, Design, and Facilities for Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). From 1996 to 2003, she directed BPL’s capital program directing work and performing design services for projects at each of its 58 branches, the renovation and expansion of it 300,000 square-foot landmarked Central Library, and spearheaded he renewal of all 18 existing Carnegie branches.

Prior to assuming her position at Brooklyn Public Library in July of 1996, Ms. Martin served as the Program Director for the Libraries Unit of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC). At DDC, she administered the Library Capital Construction Program for the 216 branch libraries comprising the three NYC Public Library systems: New York Public Library, Queens Borough Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. Her stewardship brought accelerated schedules and higher quality design and construction and provided years of experience in navigating multi-faceted project relationships, procurement requirements, and schedules. She is known as a strong advocate of quality design. She was invited to co-write the first set of Design Guidelines for building types issued by DDC. She has also published articles and lectured on successful strategies for renewing historic structures.

Ms. Martin holds a Master of Architecture from Yale University School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Design of the Environment from the University of Pennsylvania. She started her career in the private sector with a focus on the design and renovation of public buildings. She co-teaches a course entitled “The Planning & Design of Public Libraries” at the Harvard Design School and teaches Interior Design at the School of Visual Arts.

Ms. Martin has held leadership roles in the American Library Association and in the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She has been a Trustee on the Center for Architecture Foundation Board and served a term as President of their Foundation Board. She chaired their Scholarship Committee for 4 years and has also served on the Chapter’s Design Awards Committee, Center for Architecture Exhibit Committee, and the Center Coordinating Committee. As a result of her advocacy for design excellence in public and institutional buildings, in 2002, Ms. Martin was awarded the American Institute of Architect’s prestigious Public Architect Award for her years of efforts in advocating for and delivery of design excellence in buildings in the public realm, and testament to her skill in balancing the complex challenges of multi-faceted organizations and procurement procedures.