George Elvin’s research and teaching focus on emerging design strategies and technologies for green building. His current emphasis is on Architecture for Extreme Environments. This project takes students to some of the world’s most extreme environments to develop design strategies that can help us adapt to a rapidly changing climate. In January 2018, the website won a Flux Student Design Award from AIGA Blue Ridge.
He is also the founder of Gone Studio, the company pioneering post-petroleum design and zero-plastic, zero-waste, zero-electricity manufacturing. His designs have been featured by the Discovery Channel, Macworld, Treehugger and over fifty other green design venues. The author of over forty books and articles, his works on green design and technology have been published by Routledge, Wiley, and Princeton Architectural Press, among others. His most recent book, Post-Petroleum Design, has been called "a must read for anyone wondering how we built our plastics economy - and how we might move beyond it." His talks and workshops have inspired audiences in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas for decades.
He spent his childhood losing himself in the 600 acres of forest that stretched from his back door to the Potomac River. During high school he worked for the CIA, although it was in the cafeteria at their Langley headquarters. After high school, as his friends went off to college, Dr. Elvin went to train at a Zen Buddhist monastery. In 1981 he founded his own design-build firm in Washington DC, and in 1998 received his PhD in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.