Martin Felsen

Biography

Plying the boundaries between practice and scholarship, Martin Felsen blends design and data to produce uniquely progressive, site-specific built works and research, resulting in a new aesthetic for environmentally resilient architecture, landscapes, and public space.

Martin Felsen co-founded UrbanLab with Sarah Dunn as an alternative practice aiming to synthesize diverse methodologies, technical innovation, and hybrid vocabularies drawn equally from architecture and its complex urban and natural contexts. He personally directs and oversees all UrbanLab’s team-based design activities, from conceptual diagramming to on-site construction and office administration. He routinely integrates networks of fabricators, craftsmen, designers, engineers, and specialists, who work side-by-side with staff and clients on buildings and urban interventions that embrace the art of making in service to the cultural potential of architecture. His work combines hi-tech fabrication with handmade processes, often emerging at the sites of construction through collaboration and serendipity.

Martin’s work at UrbanLab integrates empirical research with analogical design. He has collaborated with geographers and computer scientists on National Science Foundation grants exploring the nature of human and natural systems through the analysis of their patterns of urban growth and movement. All UrbanLab’s work is strengthened by this confluence of art and science. Martin’s designs routinely incorporate and formalize hydrology, ecosystems, biodiversity, public health, energy, and transportation, among other factors, which led to UrbanLab’s reconceptualization of the Chicago tradition of “no small plans”—“Growing Water”—which earned UrbanLab the AIA College of Fellows Latrobe Prize.

Publications

UrbanLab Bowling 

with Sarah Dunn, San Francisco: Applied Research and Design AR+D Publishing
,
July 2017

Exhibitions

“Filter Island” in Reimagining the Avant Garde: Revisiting the Architecture of the 1960s and 1970s, curated by Marie Coulon, Matthew Butcher and Luke Pearson, BETTS Project, London, November 2019

“Little Tower” in Rejected: Architectural Drawings & Their Stories, Banvard Gallery, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University, August 23–September 13, 2019

“Re-Encampment” in Make New History, Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017, curated by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, Chicago, IL, September 2017–January 2018

Between States, curation and exhibition design by Martin Felsen, Chicago Architecture Foundation, May 2017–January 2018

Profiles

Potters Wheel
Richard Neer
Ancient Greek Art and Architecture
CWAC 259
773.702.5890
Andrei Pop
Andrei Pop
Modern Art and Aesthetics
1130 East 59th Street
773.702.8410
Martha Ward
Martha Ward
19th and 20th Century Art
MAPH Art History Advisor
CWAC 253
773.702.9497