Sabin and Jones Coauthor LabStudio: Design Research between Architecture and Biology

detail of wire in a circular and spiked sculpture

Detail from the cover of LabStudio: Design Research between Architecture and Biology.

October 11, 2017

LabStudio: Design Research between Architecture and Biology, a new book by Jenny E. Sabin, architecture, and scientist Peter Lloyd Jones of Jefferson University, introduces the concept of a laboratory within a studio in which funded research and transdisciplinary participants achieve radical advances in science, design, medicine, and applied architectural practice.

Named for the research unit that Sabin and Jones founded more than 10 years ago, LabStudio is about the generation of methods, tools, materials, prototypes, and scaled applications in the coproduction of a new model for collaborative research. Through a series of case studies by contributors including Antoine Picon, Detlef Mertins, Erica S. Savig, Andrew Lucia, Keith Neeves, Mario Carpo, Sanford Kwinter, and Mark L. Tykocinski, LabStudio demonstrates new approaches for modeling complexity, visualizing large datasets, and teaching across disciplines that are subsequently applied to both architectural and scientific research. Driven by 3D spatial biology and generative design in architecture, LabStudio creates philosophies and practices that are high-risk, non-linear, and design driven.

In addition to the case studies, Sabin and Jones present prototypes and exercises from LabStudio, illustrating in hundreds of color images a new model for seemingly unrelated, open-ended, data-, systems-, and technology-driven methods that can be adopted for incredible results.

"Overall, the mission of LabStudio is to produce new modes of thinking, working, and creating in design, medicine, and the sciences," says Sabin. "But it is also a book about taking risks and the relevance of new models of thought between architecture and biology. LabStudio and its current offspring, including Sabin Design Lab at AAP and MEDstudio@JEFF at Sidney Kimmel Medical College led by Jones and Trudy Watt, are now viewed as important models for thinking and teaching in architecture and biology, and have since inspired other departments and schools of architecture and medicine."

"LabStudio should be relevant to anyone involved or contemplating collaboration in a post-disciplinary era," Jones adds. "Based on our experience, the rules are fairly simple but not necessarily easy — start slow, have patience, and, above all, respect one another and each other's professions as equals."

Sabin is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Associate Professor of Architecture and the director of graduate studies at AAP. She frequently collaborates with Jones, who is the associate dean of emergent design and creative technologies at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Jefferson University and executive director at MEDstudio@JEFF, an academic agency focused on the design of health and human dignity. The pair most recently collaborated on THE BEACON, a progressive work featuring two drones weaving a photoluminescent skin around a 20-foot-tall structure at the DesignPhiladelphia festival in October 2016.

By Rebecca Bowes

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