My name is Jack Elliott, an associate professor at Cornell University where I teach studios on design and conduct research on environmental issues in the built environment. Throughout my academic career, I use the designed object or building, situated in a real-world context, to stimulate discourse, pull technology, and create impactful interventions.
I am originally from central Alberta in western Canada where I grew up close to nature, enjoying canoeing, skiing and hiking. My sculptural endeavors began in my undergraduate years as a minor field of study, working under Peter Hide and Neil Fiertel at the University of Alberta and apprenticing with Gary Jones, a contemporary sculptor working in Edmonton. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics with a minor in sculpture at the University of Alberta (1978), as well as two Master’s degrees, one in architecture (1991) and one in product design (1993) from the University of Calgary.
I worked in professional practice for a number of years in Calgary and Atlanta, Georgia before I began my academic career at Georgia Tech as an assistant professor in the Industrial Design department of the College of Architecture. Here, I was able to integrate my passion for design and my concern for the environment into my curriculum, developing some of the earliest sustainable design courses in the country. This lead to a position at Cornell University in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis in the College of Human Ecology. Here I have been developing programs of research in sustainable structures (Triakonta System), carbon-neutral concrete (Charcrete) and rusticity in studio furniture (Arborworks). Recently, my work became less functional and more abstract. Sculpture returned to my practice.
This work has been widely exhibited in the Northeast, from Cleveland, to Philadelphia to New York City. It has garnered significant recognitions, including a 2019 Trustees Award from the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY, a 2018 Visiting Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, a 2017 New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, 2015 Atkinson Center for Sustainable Futures Residency Fellowship at Cornell, the 2014 Leon Andrus Award for Best in Show from the Adkins Arboretum, and the 2013 Award of Excellence, also from the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY.