Founded in 2000 by Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen as a research-based architecture and urban design practice, UrbanLab theorizes that infrastructure can be hybridized, thereby leveraging a technically oriented project into one with cultural qualities. It presumes that possibilities for design innovation arise out of the investigation of the various constraints of combining infrastructural and ecological systems with cultural desires. Advancing ideas of infrastructural and ecological urbanism, UrbanLab proposes a hybridization of landscape, city, infrastructure and ecology that attempts to address the issue of contemporary public space and urban architecture. Through different scales and kinds of urban sites, UrbanLab’s projects develop the means or techniques of this hybridization. UrbanLab won the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows 2009 Latrobe Prize, the History Channel’s City of the Future competition, and several AIA Design Awards for built and unbuilt work. UrbanLab’s design work was exhibited in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and has been published in AD, Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, 306090, Places, the Architect’s Newspaper, Dwell, and the New York Times.
Sarah Dunn is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago.