Michael Adlerstein is an Adjunct Professor in the Historic Preservation program at Columbia GSAPP. In July 2007 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Adlerstein as the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations to lead the design and execution of the renovation of the UN compound, the recently completed Capital Master Plan. In the face of the famously complex and adversarial political and bureaucratic structure of 193 countries, he managed the 8 year, $2 billion renovation to finish on schedule and within 11% of its approved budget. The facilities of the UN are now faithfully restored to their mid-century modern appearance, fire and blast safe, fully functional with the inclusion of state of the art infrastructure, in compliance with all building and fire codes, and sustainable to the level of LEED’s Gold and Platinum. The energy use of the compound has been reduced by over 50%, and the water consumption by over 40%. Before this assignment, Adlerstein was the Chief Historical Architect of the National Park Service (NPS) and was the responsible official for the partnerships that restored Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Jamestown, Valley Forge, Acadia, and many other iconic treasures. He has managed the planning, design and construction program for the north-east region of the NPS, and is a recognized national expert in the field of historic preservation, advising the NPS Director and the Secretary of the Interior on historic preservation issues, as well as the leadership of the United Nations. He also led the restoration and renovation of the New York Botanical Garden as Vice President.
Michael Adlerstein is a New Yorker, with an architectural degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has served as a State Department consultant on several preservation and planning projects, including the preservation of the Taj Mahal. He has been recognized with numerous awards. Presently, he serves the United Nations as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Board of Trustees to the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York.
For his contributions to the field of architecture he was made a Fellow of the American
Institute of Architects in 1994.