Climate change has simplified sustainable design. For the time being, sustainability is a quantity not an emotion, and climate change is the new gravity: a physical design constraint plain and simple. Snell believes that the fun part is that, as designers, architects get to "save the world," but only if they can generate form and performance simultaneously.

Clarke Snell's contribution works to develop and apply sustainable and resilient building systems toward a zero-resource architecture. He splits his efforts between (1) applying research into low-tech, high-performance materials, assemblies, and systems to the design and construction of small buildings and their micro-climates with the goal of repeatable and quantifiable reductions in project carbon footprint; and (2) developing architectural workflows that allow performance modeling and simulation to inform form making. To solve perhaps the most exciting design challenge since fire, Snell believes that architects need engineering in their form and art in their algorithms.

Snell is a licensed architect, holds a Master of Architecture from the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), and has experience in construction as a builder and designer as the principal of his own residential design and consulting firm. He has written three books and numerous articles on topics related to sustainable design. In academia, he has taught a variety of studios and core courses in both architecture and engineering and has conducted research that covers a wide range of topics from developing and testing low-tech low-carbon building envelopes, to investigations in high-performance low-carbon material science, to methodologies for teaching sustainable design. His design/build work with students features two Solar Decathlon competitions including the 2015 winning entry.

Recent Projects and Research

  • Deep dive into building performance modeling in the context of architectural education.

Selected Publications

  • Nastasi, John, Ed May, and Clarke Snell. SU+RE: Sustainable + Resilient Design Systems. London: Wiley. 2018.
  • Snell, Clarke, and Tim Callahan. Building Green: A Complete How-to Guide to Alternative Building Methods: Earth Plaster, Straw Bale, Cordwood, Cob, Living Roofs. New York: Lark Books, 2009.
  • Snell, Clarke. Building Storage with Style: 20 Great-Looking Projects from Off-the-Shelf Lumber. New York: Lark Books, 2006.
  • Snell, Clarke. The Good House Book: A Common-Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding. New York: Lark Books, 2004.
  • Snell, Clarke. "Virtual Hands-On: Taking a Design Lab On-line." ASEE 2021. Long Beach, CA, 2021.
  • Snell, Clarke. "Climate Change is a Quantity: Teaching Sustainability and Resilience as Design Constraints." AMPS: Education, Design, and Practice. NYC, NY, 2019.
  • Snell, Clarke. "Climate Change is the New Gravity: Sustainability and Resilience as Architectural Design Constraints." Architectural Design, V.88, no. 1 (January/February 2018).
  • Snell, Clarke. "Practical Resilience: Low-Tech Plug-and-Play Innovation in the SU+RE House." Architectural Design, V.88, no. 1 (January/February 2018).
  • Snell, Clarke. "SU+RE Power: Energy Independence and the Sustainable, Resilient Sun." Architectural Design, V.88, no. 1 (January/February 2018).
  • Snell, Clarke. "Climate Change and the Bottom Line: Delivering Sustainable Buildings at Market Rates." Architectural Design, V.88, no. 1 (January/February 2018).
  • Snell, C., Tempest, B., Gentry, T. "Comparison of the Thermal Characteristics of Portland Cement And Geopolymer Cement Concrete Mixes. ASCE Journal of Architectural Engineering 23, no.1 (January 2017).
  • Tempest, B., Snell, C., Gentry, T., Trejo, M., Isherwood, K. "Manufacture of full scale precast geopolymer cement concrete components: a case study to highlight opportunities and challenges." PCI Journal 60, no.6 (December 2015).
  • Snell, Clarke. "Building Earthen Homes Using the Original DIY Material – Adobe, Cob, Compressed Earth Blocks and Clay-Straw Building Methods Are Labor-Intensive but Tremendously Rewarding." Mother Earth News, (August/September 2012).
  • Snell, Clarke. "The Nauhaus Chronicles: Building with Hemp." New Life Journal: Carolina Edition 10, no. 8 (October 2009).
  • Snell, Clarke. "GO SOLAR and Save Big!" Mother Earth News 2007, no. 221A (2007).
  • Snell, Clarke. "Green: Still Not Easy." Library Journal 131, no. 10 (2006).
  • Snell, Clarke. "Your Green Dream Home: First Things to Consider." Mother Earth News 2006, no. 215A (2006).
  • Snell, Clarke. "How to Build Your Own Home." Natural Home Magazine, 2004.

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • Building Technology sequence

Contact Info