UrbanLab is an architecture and urban design firm with a reputation as a professional practice known for its innovative solutions to, and long-range strategies for, the problems of both public and private communities. Our projects span scales, from large, urban proposals to small, residential projects to architecture installations, but our primary interest is in forward-looking projects that speculate on a more resilient and resourceful tomorrow.
Our design process is characterized by deep inquiry and collaborative exchange; design work is informed by intensive research and an experimental approach. UrbanLab strives to invent innovative, environmentally responsible design solutions and create spaces that establish healthy connections between people and their environments. Current architecture projects include the design of private houses and commercial building renovations. Current urban design projects include a study for infrastructural stormwater management systems that mimic nature by integrating stormwater into roadway, building and site development to reduce the damaging effects of urbanization on Lake Michigan and rivers/streams throughout the Chicago region.
UrbanLab is also a research laboratory actively engaged in examining American cities and American-style megalopolises. Martin Felsen is Principal Investigator for research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Chicago Environmental Fund and the American Institute of Architect’s College of Fellows Latrobe Prize (2009). The broad goal of UrbanLab’s research is to re-conceptualize the design of buildings and the public-way urban infrastructure grid in order to (1) reduce reliance on non-renewable, non-local energy sources, (2) sustain water resources, and (3) design more effective uses of community assets to improve the health of natural systems and the wealth of people, today and in the future.