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“LabStudio” co-authors Peter Lloyd Jones and Jenny Sabin at an event celebrating the release of their book on design research in architecture, medicine and the sciences, Nov. 9 at AAP NYC.

Book details approaches to design research across disciplines

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Jeff Tyson

In their new book, “LabStudio: Design Research Between Architecture and Biology,” Jenny Sabin and Peter Lloyd Jones demonstrate new approaches to the traditional design studio and hypothesis-led research that are complementary, experimental and reciprocal, for natural scientists and architects alike.

The book introduces the concept of a research design laboratory in which transdisciplinary participants in funded research achieve radical advances in science, design and applied architectural practice, as well as new approaches for teaching across disciplines.

“Overall, the mission of ‘LabStudio’ is to produce new modes of thinking, working and creating in design, medicine and the sciences,” Sabin says.

Sabin and Jones present prototypes and exercises from their collaborative practice, LabStudio, alongside case studies by contributors including Mario Carpo and Detlef Mertins.

Illustrated with hundreds of color images, the 408-page volume presents philosophies and practices that are high-risk, nonlinear and design-driven, for often surprising results; and open-ended, data-, systems- and technology-driven methods for designers, originating from 3-D spatial biology and generative design in architecture.

Sabin is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Associate Professor of Architecture at Cornell and director of graduate studies in architecture. Her research and architectural practice apply insights and theories from biology, emerging technologies, materials science and mathematics to the design of material structures.

Jones is a cell and developmental biologist, inventor, and professor and associate dean of emergent design and creative tech in medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. His discoveries have uncovered fundamental mechanisms in embryogenesis and human disease including breast cancer and pulmonary hypertension. His work actively seeks new solutions to complex problems via extreme collaborations within seemingly unrelated fields including industrial, textile and architectural design.

LabStudio was established by Sabin and Jones in 2006 at the University of Pennsylvania and now has affiliates at Cornell, Stanford and Jefferson universities. The book also details their ongoing collaboration and a practice that pairs researchers – including graduate students in architecture and postdoctoral fellows and students in the Jones Lab – with one another to explore specific biological systems and design problems.

The book was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and was launched with events Nov. 9-10 at AAP NYC and on the Ithaca campus.


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