7th Annual Sustainability Crash Course, March 25th

7th Annual Sustainability Crash Course, March 25th

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, Pratt’s CSDS will host the 7th annual Sustainability Crash Course, a day-long series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops with a host of experts from Pratt’s faculty and elsewhere.  In years past we have had over 20 different speakers present topics including Ecology, Biomimicry, Packaging Design, Life-Cycle Assessment, Fashion, Architecture, Policy and Environmental Activism. This year we have an entirely new line up of exciting and inspiring presenters. As in the past, the event is free and open to the Pratt Community as well as the general public, but registration is required. View the eventbrite page.


Pratt Institute – 200 Willoughby Avenue.
Engineering Building. Brooklyn, NY 11205


Presentation Schedules


By 2050 we are being told that the population will increase 33%, energy demands will increase 50% and water dependency will increase by 30%. So what will your garment be doing 20 years from today – will it be part of the ongoing environmental crisis or leading the way toward change? It is imperative that fashion designers, merchandisers, production and marketing make a connection between the fashion industry and well-being.

There have been many approaches toward sustainability, however most of the fashion industry, a multi-billion dollar global industry, has continued to be slow at embracing the necessary steps to activate change as an integral part of a new smarter business model. James will present a new generation of eco-smart solutions that inspire fashion design and creativity, as well as offer significant reductions in water, CO2 and energy consumption.

Eco Values = A Smart Business

James Mendolia is an energetic educator exceptional at building innovative fashion curriculum, as well as executive and professional workshops thanks to his past academic experience, which included ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP at Parsons School of Design.  He brings these skills along with extensive fashion career experience in merchandising, sourcing, design education, international business and textile research and development to FIT’s MFA Fashion Design program.

He has presented work related to DESIGN RESPONSIBILITY, Future Fashion Systems, Online Education, and Design Education to universities and fashion companies in Europe, Asia, Mexico and the United States. His current research is in direct response to the global movement to generate a sustainable preference in today’s changing marketplace. An experienced fashion professional, he creates programs that introduce participants to a new generation of textile technologies and training that include supply chain assessment, hands-on material analysis, luxury fashion, and interactive ECO-FASHION WORKSHOPS. 

In 2015, Mendolia partnered with C.L.A.S.S., the Milan based eco platform, to create C.L.A.S.S. Education a new division dedicated to introducing eco-smart solutions that offer significant reductions in water, CO2 and energy to empower like-minded fashion professionals and emerging designers to transform their current business model and ACTIVATE CHANGE.

Book Launch for “Aluminum Upcycled: Sustainable Design in Historical Perspective” by Carl Zimring

The Pratt Institute seeks to teach its design students sustainable design strategies. This weekend, we launch a book that examines one of these strategies using the case of aluminum. Beginning in 1886 with the discovery of how to mass produce aluminum, the book examines the essential part the metal played in early aviation and the world wars, as well as the troubling expansion of aluminum as a material of mass disposal. Recognizing that scrap aluminum was as good as virgin material and much more affordable than newly engineered metal, designers in the postwar era used aluminum to manufacture highly prized artifacts, effectively upcycling discarded material decades before the term’s adoption. Zimring takes us on a tour of post-1940s design, examining the use of aluminum in cars, trucks, airplanes, furniture, and musical instruments from 1945 to 2015.

By viewing upcycling through the lens of one material, Zimring deepens our understanding of the history of recycling in industrial society. Along the way, he challenges common assumptions about upcycling’s merits and adds a new dimension to recycling as a form of environmental absolution for the waste-related sins of the modern world. Zimring will discuss the book and have copies for sale and signing.

Carl Zimring is an environmental historian interested in the ways in which attitudes concerning waste shape society and institutions. His first book, Cash for Your Trash: Scrap Recycling in America (Rutgers University Press, 2005) documents how changing ideas about material reuse from colonial times to the end of the twentieth century shaped the scrap recycling industry.  He is general editor of The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage (Sage Publications, 2012), and serves as associate professor in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute, where he founded the Sustainability Studies minor in 2013.  Prior to arriving at Pratt, he co-founded the Sustainability Studies program at Roosevelt University and taught environmental history for several years at Oberlin College. His doctorate in history is from Carnegie Mellon University and he has been an Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results fellow, an American Society for Environmental History Samuel P. Hays research fellow, and a scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institute Libraries. Aluminum Upcycled is Zimring’s third book.

Sustainable daylighting with the latest PV

Design research and development of photovoltaic colored glass which both generates electricity but also admits daylight as incorporated in skylights, roofs and south facades from on-going work in the Christina Porter Memorial Lighting Lab, Pratt Institute School of Architecture.

Brent Porter, Adjunct Professor of the School of Architecture, is in his 44th year at Pratt where among his on-going teaching is his role as head of the Christina Porter Memorial Lighting Lab. It is exploring sustainable skylights, building facades including the “window wall,” thermal wall components for daylighting in Canada, integration of photovoltaics and green roofs, and commitment to solar access — while at the same time, experimenting with a variety of LED and other lighting fixtures. His practice as an architect is engaged in a number of sustainable renovations, restorations and new facilities.
The on-going work of sustainability within the historic Machu Picchu has led to his team’s addressing the town below where 800,000 people arrive and depart each year, yet one-third of the roofs and top floors are incomplete with vertical rebars evident of the lack of sustainability which must be resolved.

Panel on Biomimicry

The panel will explore the application of biophilic strategies from various practitioners.

Tetsu Ohara
Tetsu Ohara is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Departmental Sustainability Coordinator in the School of Design at Pratt. His commitment to integrating “smart design” (sustainable solutions as part of the design proposal) has been resulted in graduate students’ works since 2007.  He teaches qualifying level core design studio and interior options lab (Sustainability + Biomimicry). Also he leads Pratt Sustainability Coalition in order to organize the 12th annual GreenWeek (campus wide event showcasing green proposal/ideas/seminars/lectures).  With an architectural degree from College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley, he uses his knowledge to engage in lectures about Sustainability in NYC. He is a partner at SpatialDesignStudio, Inc. practicing interior architecture in Asia, Europe and the U.S.

Jonce Walker
Urban Planner
Terrapin Bright Green
Jonce is a senior project manager with over ten years of experience advancing sustainability. His background includes sustainability policy, green building consulting, urban planning, and community improvement interventions. His expertise at Terrapin ranges from biophilic design to net zero energy communities. A native New Mexican, his passion is to integrate nature and urban places to improve human health and wellbeing.

Narada Golden
Narada is a Principal at YR&G and co-leads the Design and Construction team. He has over 17 years of experience in architectural design and construction, building performance and cost-benefit analysis, human-centric design, integrative project management, and thought leadership in the field of green building. He has worked on a wide range of commercial, educational, institutional, residential, cultural, lab, manufacturing, and master plans projects–both nationally and internationally. Narada has spoken extensively on sustainability and green building, healthy building environments, integrative design, and building performance.He has also led a variety of sustainability trainings for corporate, government, and educational clients and facilitated large public and private workshops focused on net-zero energy and water neighborhoods, building occupant health and engagement, and green codes.

Helena van Vliet, AIA
Principal, Helena van Vilet Architecture
Helena van Vliet AIA is a Biophilic Architect, Researcher & Speaker on Health and the Built Environment. She is Principal in charge at Helena van Vliet Architect LLC. Helena considers Architecture a Health Care Profession, and has made the creation of spaces, which foster positive emotional connection to place her primary area of exploration. She views human attachment to and caring for place as essential for true sustainability as well as for physiological well-being. Helena is a biophilic consultant and facilitates biophilic design workshops and design charrettes. She is a contributor at the biophilic design hub Human Spaces, and a steering committee member for the Biophilic Cities Network. Locally, she is the founder of bioPhilly, a grass roots organization, which seeks to promote wild habitat biodiversity in Philadelphia. Helena is a guest speaker at various universities on the connection between architecture and health. She works with selected graduate and PhD students on thesis projects in biophilic sustainable design.

View videos of past presentations on our Youtube Channel.