We follow an experimental preservation approach that deploys technologies critically and creatively to call into question preconceived ideas of what constitutes a building material, and by extension allows us to interrogate architecture’s materiality. This inclusive approach allows us to consider all materials that contribute to making and preserving architecture, including smells, encrusted dusts, airborne particles, fossil fuels, soluble coatings, migrating salts, glues, paints plastics, papers, digital data, in addition to more tectonic materials such as stone, brick, terra-cotta, portland cement, lime, and metals, among others. Combining scientific testing, artistic hands-on experimental applications, and critical thinking, we explore various technologies that contribute to the preservation of architectural materials, and by extension to the material care of the entire built environment.
Because preservation and care inform the ethos of the lab, our engagement with technologies is critical. We are mindful of the need to weigh the benefits of using particular preservation technologies against the possible harm they may cause individuals, societies, and natural ecologies. Some of our research therefore tests the claims of materials manufacturers against their actual performance in the real world, which is broader than what is listed in materials specifications, and includes accounting for constitutive externalities, such as a material’s social and environmental benefits and costs over their entire life-cycle.
The lab supports engagement with ethical questions entangled in the preservation of building materials through research into technology that extends beyond questions of physical performance (i.e. strength of materials) to include other equally important related questions concerning the aesthetic, social, political, cultural, ecological, and intellectual performance of materials.
Following experimental preservation methods, we also bring science and art together to probe the relationship between materials, aesthetic expression, and meaning. We use technology to test the material limits of architecture in space and time (where does architecture end?), as well as in culture and society (why does architecture end?). We promote research that demands deep readings to understand where architectural materiality comes from (physically, culturally, and historically) and what motivates it (politically and financially) in order to make informed decisions about how we could, should (or should not) use technology to preserve it.
Daniel Allen, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Erica Avrami, James Marston Fitch Assistant Professor
Lola Ben-Alon, Assistant Professor
Heather Hartshorn, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Mary Jablonski, Adjunct Associate Professor
André Jauregui, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Bilge Kose, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Tim Michiels, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Kyle Normandin, Adjunct Associate Professor
Richard Pieper, Adjunct Associate Professor
Theodore Prudon, Adjunct Professor
Halley Ramos, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Amanda Trienens, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Anthony Vanky, Assistant Professor
Norman Weiss, Adjunct Professor