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The Labs

Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting (C-LAB)

Director: Jeffrey Inaba

The mission of CLAB is to test experimental forms of architectural communication. Rethinking architecture at a global scale, the lab sets up creative partnerships to broaden the range and increase the intensity of architectural discourse - launching unique events, provisional networks, special issues of magazines, video streams, television, radio and webcasts. The lab acts as a kind of training camp and energy source for incubating new channels for debate about architecture.

Laboratory for Applied Building Science

Director: Phillip Anzalone
Manager: Nathan Carter

The shift toward more expansive forms of digital production within the design and construction industry affords opportunities of not only reconfiguring the relationships between the key players, but also incorporating industry sectors not typically associated with building construction. At the core of this shift is the integration of communication through various forms of digital networks, CNC fabrication being just one among many, with the ambition of developing a comprehensive, well organized, easily accessible, and parametrically adaptable body of information that coordinates the process from design through a building’s lifecycle. This is the broader context for the goals of the Laboratory for Applied Building Science.

Spatial Information Design Lab

Directors: Laura Kurgan

The GSAPP Spatial Information Design Lab is a think- and action-tank for the visual display of spatial information. Its founding and ongoing project has been a university wide one, to develop a meta-data standard for the growing archive of GIS data, and a suitable interface for this kind of spatial data. The lab will take a productive and yet critical approach to the field of GIS, and work with spatial data to design innovative ways in which the resulting images, or maps, might communicate what they picture with clarity, integrity, responsibility, creativity and invention.

China Megacities Lab

Director: Jeffrey Johnson

Over the next 25 years, it is projected that China will account for 50% of the world's new construction. The majority of this construction will occur in existing cities, or newly formed urban areas. It is the mission of the China Megacities Lab to become actively engaged with this rapid urbanization and spatial production occurring in China, through both research and design.

Urban Landscape Lab

Directors: Janette Kim and Katherine Orff

The Urban Landscape Lab is an interdisciplinary applied research group at Columbia University in the City of New York. We focus on the role of design in the analysis and transformation of the joint built-natural environment, and study ecological processes and urban systems as hybrid phenomenon through targeted pilot projects, practical strategies, and experiments.

The Latin American and Caribbean Laboratory (Latin Lab)

Director: Clara Irazábal, PhD

The Latin American and Caribbean Laboratory (Latin Lab) serves as an intellectual platform for research, educational, and service initiatives related to architecture and urban planning in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Based at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), the Lab aims to become a leading laboratory for the study of the built environment and community development in LAC and its diasporas and a premier resource to assist in the just and sustainable transformations of LAC territories and communities. The Lab's primary lines of work are Migration and Ethno-Urbanism, Urban Resilience and Upgrading, and Transnational and Regional Planning.

Urban Design Lab

Director: Richard Plunz

The Urban Design Lab (UDL) of the Earth Institute and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) works to find innovative solutions to the sustainable development issues confronting cities. The UDL conducts multidisciplinary applied design research in collaboration with community-based organizations and other public and private interests.

The UDL's team works closely with outside experts in architecture, ecology, economics, environmental science, public health, urban design and urban planning.

Network Architecture Lab

Director: Kazys Varnelis

The Network Architecture Lab is an experimental unit that embraces the studio and the seminar as venues for architectural analysis and speculation, exploring new forms of research through architecture, text, new media design, film production and environment design.

Living Architecture Lab

Director: David Benjamin and Soo-In Yang

Political and cultural conditions change: what if the walls and windows morphed in response? Air and water quality fluctuate: what if a cloud of light above the river modulated its color as a public display of contamination? Demands for occupation of space shift across days, seasons, and years: what if traditionally mute and inert building materials appeared and disappeared accordingly?

Architecture Online Lab

Directors: Leigha Dennis and Troy Conrad Therrien

Which online tools and protocols will become constituent parts of architecture research, design and pedagogy? How can architects utilize digital tools to reinvent methods for representation and communication? What can architecture learn from non-traditional disciplinary collaborations? How can architecture offer offline solutions to an over-connected world? What does interactivity mean for the nature, use and translation of space?

The Architecture Online Lab is an experimental practice which aims to develop the inquiries, tools, protocols, and frameworks of thought and action to be consumed, advanced and critiqued as we continue to question and define architecture online. Our approach is both discursive and practical, operating in and on new and traditional forms and media, and by creating our own through working prototypes.

Global Africa Lab

Co-Directors:  Mario Gooden, AIA  and Mabel Wilson, PhD

Through design methods and research aided by new technologies and media, Global Africa Lab (GAL) explores the spatial topologies of the African continent and its diaspora. GAL'S s innovative research and pedagogical agenda examines how the unique political histories and the contemporary forces of globalization shape the architecture, urbanism, culture and ecologies of these places. 

Death Lab

Director: Karla Maria Rothstein

DeathLab is a trans-disciplinary research and design space focused on reconceiving how we live with death in the metropolis. Engaging both intimate and infrastructural urban concerns, we are designing innovative strategies which can be prototyped, built, and experienced by the public. We are dedicated to reframing how people think about mortality.

Technological Change Lab (TCLAB)

Director: Smita Srinivas

TCLab is a Columbia university-based research and advisory program established in 2007 and directed by Prof. SMITA SRINIVAS of the Urban Planning program. It is housed at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).

The intellectual focus of TCLab is in understanding (a) the characteristics of economic and technological change, and especially industrial transformation of countries, cities and regions and (b) the conditions under which considerations of efficiency and equity can evolve alongside.

Sustainable Urbanism International

Sustainable Urbanism International is a research and design initiative committed to the conservation of cultural heritage, and developing strategies for promoting culturally and environmentally sensitive strategies for urban development. SUI was established as a non-profit NGO in Bangalore in 2003 and is also a research unit at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University in New York.

SUI works with governments, communities, and private investors to develop strategies for urban development that bring about the benefits of modernization while minimizing the cultural dislocations arising from it.

Non Linear Solutions Unit

Director: Caterina M. Tiazzoldi

In a complex-structured city in which the interactions among parts intensify; in which the number of decision makers and cultural scenarios overlap, interconnect, and sometimes collide; in which the temporal dimensions of the citizens are dissimilar; in which local and global, physical and virtual dimensions co-exist, it is necessary to identify a set of design tools which could respond to design complexity. The Non Linear Solutions Unit focus on the development of a conceptual methodology that respond creatively to the complexity of today’s cities: a polyhedral lens to approach multidisciplinary projects.