Feb 13th 2018


Martin Felsen
Author's Lecture: "BOWLING"
Fri, Feb 16 at 2 p.m. | S. R. Crown Hall | Lower Center Core

" Bowling: Water, Architecture, Urbanism" asks: Why, as a discipline, do contemporary architects counter huge crises with small ideas? Architects once thought and theorized the huge (both huge problems and huge solutions). In addition to unprecedented opportunities to design large-scale public works projects in the postwar period, architects in the 1950s and '60s eagerly took on the large-scale cultural and environmental problems of the day. Bowling seeks to reposition the contemporary debate of what a city should be by exploring how city-scaled mega-forms can become an updated architecture-based urbanism—a conjecture of what a comprehensible city could be to combat (predicted) crises—through analysis and experimentation.

Martin Felsen, FAIA, co-founded UrbanLab in 2000. He is a registered architect in Illinois and New York. He was educated at Virginia Tech (BArch, 1991), and Columbia University (MS-AAD, 1994). Martin is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and he is an Associate Professor in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) College of Architecture.

After working for Eisenman Architects, Stan Allen Architects and 1100 Architects in New York, he and partner Sarah Dunn established UrbanLab, a collaborative architecture and urban design firm. UrbanLab strives to respond to the complexity, growth and unintended consequences of the modern city by developing a catalogue of architectural, infrastructural and urbanistic design strategies, in particular examining natural and artificial systems underpinning the built environment. Built work to date includes houses, housing, mixed-use buildings, restaurants, installations, and urban infrastructural projects. Parallel to this realized work, Martin is a Principal Investigator for research projects funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Institute of Architect’s College of Fellows. His research focuses on public space, public infrastructure and public resources in American (and American-style) cities and megaregions.

Martin received the Dubin Family Young Architect Award in 2007 from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago. Also in 2007 UrbanLab was named as the national winner of the History Channel’s “City of the Future” competition for a proposal titled “Growing Water.” UrbanLab won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize in 2009, and UrbanLab’s architecture and urban design projects have won several design awards from the AIA. In 2010 UrbanLab was included in the Emerging Voices lecture series sponsored by the Architectural League. In 2012, UrbanLab exhibited work at the Venice Biennale in "Common Ground" curated by David Chipperfield, and in 2015, UrbanLab exhibited "Filter Island" at the Chicago Biennial. Publications presenting UrbanLab’s design and research work include Architecture, Architectural Record, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Martin serves on the Board of Archeworks, a non-profit educational organization working on contemporary community-based urban design issues in Chicago. He also serves on the Board of Places: Design History Foundation and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Architect’s Newspaper.