CO Adaptive Architecture was founded in 2011 in New York City by Ruth Mandl and Bobby Johnston. Amidst an industry that is highly predicated on the finished image of architecture, we want to turn the focus to the means of making and maintaining it. We believe it is our responsibility as architects to understand the design of one building as part of a holistic system whose component parts have an effect on the environment they sit within. We specialize in retrofitting existing building stock to create energy-efficient and climate-resilient environments, with the goal of extending the lifespans of these buildings for many decades to come. We feel this is not only the best way to celebrate our cities’ history, but also to minimize our collective carbon footprint.

When retrofitting, we are passionate about creating quiet, comfortable and high-performance interiors, ensuring that the building is not using more energy than it can produce on site. We are attentive to the durability, health and embodied energy of materials that we use; consciously specifying materials that are local in origin, and store carbon rather than emit it in their making. It matters that materials are as simple as possible in their constitution and are produced without harm to the environment or the people making them. In our mind, care for the parts translates to a healthy whole. As such, our practice places importance on those aspects generally hidden from view in a finished project, emphasizing the past and future journeys of the ingredients as they come together. Often, the best materials to use are those that already exist. To that end, we accentuate local reuse in our projects, reintegrating and reviving found elements of the buildings we renovate.

We are strong believers that architecture is a process rather than an end result; it should be a collaborative practice that works to solve today’s biggest challenges—and does this by building upon the past rather than reinventing it.

CO Adaptive has won numerous awards for their work, and been recognized as a Design Vanguard by Architectural Record, featured as a Next Progressive by ARCHITECT Magazine, and was show-cased in the inaugural exhibition Architecture Now: New York, New Publics at The Museum of Modern Art, which was on view from February through July 2023.

Coadaptive def: | adjective biology |

mutually adapted; mutually accommodating.

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you! Take a minute to complete the form to tell us more about your project and we’ll schedule a time to connect.



If you share in our values and would like to stay connected to CO Adaptive, complete the Newsletter form with your information to sign up for our quarterly newsletter.


All portraits by Donilee McGinnis

We are grateful for the contributions of previous team members: Sam Bowstead, Graham Billings, Virginia Brown, Steve Dahlgren,  Sarah Gunawan, Henry Black, Seneca Gray, Jeremy Cohen and Yashil Mudaliar.

Jobs + Mentorship

CO Adaptive is always looking to connect with enthusiastic individuals that are passionate about improving our built and natural environment through design and building.  We welcome job applications and internship inquiries through the form below.


We are an equal opportunities employer and endeavor to support minorities within the profession. We strive to maintain a flat organization where all voices are heard from design problems through office organization. At all levels, we facilitate a wide lens of exposure to building practice, while encouraging individuals to pursue their own interests within the office and in the profession at large.

CO Adaptive strives to offer a fun and creative office culture that values and rewards collaboration and innovation. We believe in working smarter, not harder, and we close our doors at 6 PM to foster enjoying life outside of the office

For Press Inquiries, please email

Building 303, Suite 603, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205