Liz Cohn-Martin

Liz Cohn-Martin

San Francisco, CA, US

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Elizabeth Cohn-Martin is practicing as an architectural and urban designer in the City of San Francisco. She holds a Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University GSAPP as well as a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Elizabeth has professional experience working for design firms and non-profit organizations such as Latent Productions, rePLACE Urban Studio, and Terrapin Bright Green in New York City as well as David Baker Architects, Architecture for Humanity, Volume 21: Office for Architecture, and Siegel and Strain Architects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While studying at Columbia University, Elizabeth assistant taught courses on architectural technology and building systems, sustainable architectural design, building energy assessment, and urban resource use and metabolic trends. Teaching under the guidance of Shanta Tucker (Atelier Ten), Craig Schwitter (Buro Happold), Davidson Norris (Davidson Norris Consulting), and Lynnette Widder (The Earth Institute) has directly shaped her knowledge of a number of different climate and environmentally sensitive building and site design strategies. Elizabeth’s strongest asset is her ability to understand system-wide impacts of design decisions at a variety of scales.

As an architect and educator she believes that it is vitally important to understand the contextual environment that one is working within -- whether hypothetically in the classroom or with a client in the office. Elizabeth’s design research falls at the intersection of sustainable site and building strategies, geospatial mapping, and urban food production systems. Her master’s thesis research, completed for the Urban Planning program at Columbia GSAPP, focused on the use of GIS-supported multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to identify critical areas within New York City that have the greatest potential to socio-economically and environmentally benefit from urban agricultural interventions. Utilizing geospatial information systems to visualize information and support design intervention is a specialty of Elizabeth’s and a means of understanding community need that Elizabeth interweaves into her architectural design process. Her past research and professional experience within the areas of biophilia and ecosystem services coupled with deep contextual and mapping analysis have influenced her practice, teaching, and research intention and philosophy.

Elizabeth is currently pursuing environmentally responsive, community oriented projects that advance accessibility, affordability, health, and wellbeing at a variety of scales. She has hands-on experience in current urban housing issues, varied policy and planning approaches, and identification of opportunities for cutting-edge urban interventions that utilize sustainable site and building strategies. Most recently, Elizabeth’s focus within professional practice has been on the provision of sustainably designed affordable housing, formerly homeless housing, and housing for elderly populations which she helped design while working at David Baker Architects in San Francisco. During her time there she successfully supported her design team for the Huntersview Phase III project in its acceptance as a Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Pilot Project with the International Living Futures Institute (ILFI). Additionally, she gained experience working on a number of other projects that incorporate LEED accreditation and successfully became a LEED AP Building Design and Construction accredited professional.

Elizabeth has been a design reviewer at California College of the Arts, the University of California - Berkeley, the Academy of Art University - San Francisco, and San Francisco City College. Elizabeth has aided in producing Design Like You Give a Damn II: Building Change from the Ground Up and is published in Columbia GSAPP’s Abstract 2015 and Abstract 2016 as well as Ethnography for Designers (Routledge 2016). Elizabeth has received grants and awards for her research and built installations. Most notably, she received the 2011 ASLA Student Award of Excellence for PlantLAB, a hydroponic garden installation, produced and built for the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Grants received include the Public Service Fund and Academic Opportunity Fund awarded by the ASUC at UC Berkeley for her research on flooding patterns, urban form and responsive design for Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Elizabeth currently resides in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco and, while not working, enjoys spending time exploring the city, dancing, and cooking delicious meals with family and friends. She is an avid practitioner of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga and adores being outside and in nature whenever possible. 


The New School, New York, Adjunct Faculty

Part-time adjunct faculty in the Interior Design Certificate program. Currently teaching drafting and design fundamentals.

Jun 2020 - current

Academy Of Art University, San Francisco, CA, US, Faculty in the Bachelor of Arts in Architecture Program

Climate and Energy Use - Sustainable Strategies // Fall 2019 // co-taught with Jennifer Asselstine

Aug 2019 - current

David Baker Architects, New York, Architectural Designer

Preliminary, schematic, design development, and construction set production for multiple multi-family affordable housing projects in the Bay Area.

Huntersview Phase III, San Francisco, CA // 110 units affordable multifamily // Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Pilot Project
355 Sango Court, Milpitas, CA // 102 units affordable multifamily
Hotel Sebastopol, Sebastopol, CA // creative boutique inn, spa and wellness center
The Union, Oakland, CA // 110 units of modular market-rate
965 Weeks Street, East Palo Alto, CA // 136 units affordable multifamily
Marina Cove, Richmond, CA // 138 units affordable multifamily
53 Colton Avenue, San Francisco, CA // 100 units formerly homeless
Tipping Point, San Francisco, CA // 145 supportive SRO units
HH Residences, Sebastopol, CA // boutique hotel and town homes

Nov 2017 - Jun 2019

Urban Design Lab at The Earth Institute, New York, NY, US, Lead Instructor, Sustainable Urbanization: New Designs for the Future City

Lead Instructor directing a co-staff of two and a student group of 30; The client for this course was the 125th Street BID and the students learned ArcGIS, 3D modeling & drafting.

May 2017 - Aug 2017

RePLACE Urban Studio, New York, NY, US, Mapping Analyst & Architectural Designer

City-scale analysis of Newark, New Jersey through GIS, data analysis, and mapping; Development of a methodology that identifies critical lots in Newark for future intervention.

Jun 2016 - Dec 2016

Columbia University, New York, NY, US, Teaching Assistant in the MArch & MSUP Programs

Architectural Technology 1 - Fall 2015, Fall 2016
Environment, Transportation & Land Use Specialization - Spring 2015
Sustainable Design - Summer 2015, Fall 2015
Berlin/New York Studio: Modern Era Housing Projects - Spring 2015

Jan 2015 - Dec 2016

Latent Productions | DeathLAB, New York, NY, US, Architectural Designer & Research Associate

Schematic design, programming research, and site analysis; In-depth evaluation of a hydroponics food production system for the Greylock Mill in North Adams, MA; Research on alternative body disposition strategies, public grief and mourning within shared space.

Jun 2016 - Aug 2016

Terrapin Bright Green, New York, NY, US, Built Ecosystem Reference Standards Designer

Development of the Framework for an Ecological Built Environment (PHOEBE Framework) which merges ecology, planning, and design into an ecosystem-based assessment; Research, mapping, and data visualization completed for the client Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

Jun 2014 - Aug 2015

The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, US, Teaching & Research Assistant in the MS Sustainability Management Program

The Hungry City Workshop (Urban Metabolism) - Fall 2013, Fall 2014
Empirical Approaches to Building Energy Assessment - Spring 2014

Urban metabolism in New York City and mapping emergent food systems
Material-efficient high performance building systems (focus on bio-based
composites and rapid 3d prototyping of wall joints and panels)

Aug 2013 - Aug 2015


Columbia University, New York, NY, US, MArch, Architecture and Urban Planning

Completed both the MArch (Master of Architecture) and MSUP (Master of Science in Urban Planning) programs (2013-2017)

Aug 2013 - May 2017

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, US, Bachelors, Architecture

Aug 2005 - May 2009


GSAPP Incubator Membership // NEW INC, New Museum, Other

Membership awarded to A-Frame which investigates socio-economic and political issues in architecture.


Ethnography for Designers (Routledge 2016), Other

Publication - “Community Sustenance: Sunday Brunch at a Thai Buddhist Temple” included in the book.


Design Like You Give a Damn 2 (Architecture for Humanity), Other

Generated original writing and research while working at Architecture for Humanity, SF (2010). Final publication came out in 2012.


2011 ASLA Student Award of Excellence, Award

Awarded for the PlantLAB installation at the 2011 SF Flower and Garden Show


Areas of Specialization