About UrbanLab

UrbanLab is an architecture and urban design firm founded in 2000 by Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn. UrbanLab’s projects span scales, from large, urban designs to small, residential projects and exhibitions. Our primary interest is in forward-looking projects that speculate on a more resilient and resourceful tomorrow.

UrbanLab is a member of HDC, a network of international partners who have collaborated together for the last 20 years. Our partners head architecture and urban design offices dedicated to innovation and excellence, with a track record of success. Each office maintains an individual style and cultural identity, bringing the richness of diversity and multiculturalism to the partnership. With over 300 employees, our integrated offices share a common dedication to the highest standards of creative thinking and project delivery.

UrbanLab brings creativity and collaboration to each design project. We view challenges as opportunities to create memorable buildings and places that are both beautiful and surprising. We routinely assemble talented multidisciplinary teams with the highest levels of expertise and experience to realize architecture and urban design projects. Our design process is characterized by deep inquiry and collaborative exchange; design work is informed by intensive research and an experimental approach. We strive to invent innovative, environmentally responsible design solutions and create spaces that establish healthy connections between people and their environments. Built work to date includes mixed-use commercial buildings, housing, houses, restaurants, art galleries, large-scale resilient infrastructural projects, recreational landscapes, and cities.

The practice has been recognized nationally and internationally. Awards include first prize in the History Channel’s City of the Future Competition, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize, and several design awards from the AIA. In 2010, the Architectural League of New York included UrbanLab in their Emerging Voices program. UrbanLab has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010 and 2012, and in the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015 and 2017. UrbanLab’s work is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Leadership

Martin Felsen

Martin Felsen

Martin Felsen, FAIA

contact: felsen at urbanlab dot com

Martin Felsen, FAIA, co-founded UrbanLab in 2000. He is a registered architect in Illinois and New York. He was educated at Virginia Tech (B.Arch), and Columbia University (MS-AAD). 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, an architecture and urban design firm. UrbanLab aims to synthesize diverse methodologies, technical innovation, and hybrid vocabularies drawn equally from architecture and its complex urban and natural contexts. 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 infrastructure and the resources driving 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. Martin’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally. Awards include first prize in the History Channel’s City of the Future Competition, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize, and several design awards from AIA Chicago. In 2010, the Architectural League of New York included UrbanLab in their Emerging Voices program. UrbanLab has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010 and 2012, and in the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015 and 2017. UrbanLab’s work is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sarah Dunn

Sarah Dunn

Sarah Dunn

contact: dunn at urbanlab dot com

Sarah Dunn co-founded UrbanLab in 2000. She was educated at Columbia University (B.Arts and M.Arch). Sarah is a Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has also taught advanced studios at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

After working at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam, she and partner Martin Felsen 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 mixed-use commercial buildings, housing, houses, restaurants, art galleries, large-scale resilient infrastructural projects, recreational landscapes, and cities.

Sarah’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally. Awards include first prize in the History Channel’s City of the Future Competition, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows Latrobe Prize, and several design awards from AIA Chicago. In 2010, the Architectural League of New York included UrbanLab in their Emerging Voices program. UrbanLab has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010 and 2012, and in the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015 and 2017. UrbanLab’s work is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Christopher Groesbeck

Christopher Groesbeck

Christopher Groesbeck AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

contact: groesbeck at urbanlab dot com

Christopher Groesbeck, AIA, is an architect, designer and urban planner as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) College of Architecture where he teaches senior level design studio’s focused on “Rethinking Metropolis.” A former principal at VOA Associates Inc., he established the Beijing office of VOA and is now a principal and managing partner of UrbanLab.HCD. Earlier in his career he worked with I.M. Pei and Partners in New York City. His professional involvement includes memberships to the AIA, the Urban Land Institute and the Strategic Advisory Board for the Chicago School of Real Estate at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Chris has over 38 years of professional experience with an expertise in city and community planning as well as design of public assembly spaces and mixed-use developments for corporate and institutional clients both nationally and internationally. He received his Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois in Champaign. His professional work has won numerous awards including the prestigious ULI Global Award of Excellence for the Wabash Tower at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His work in the United States, the EU, the Mideast, Asia and South America is published internationally. Chris is licensed throughout the United States. His focus both in practice and academia is the future of cities and their integration of infrastructure, open space, commercial and residential fabric to create long term health, economy and social justice.

Nan Zhou

Nan Zhou

Nan Zhou AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Nan Zhou, AIA, is an architect, designer and urban planner. He has over 20 years of experience including commercial, high-rise residential, education, conference facilities, hospitality, and mixed- use projects in the United States, Asia and the EU. He is a principal of UrbanLab.HCD and the managing partner of the Beijing office. He collaborates with the Chicago office both in the United States and and in Asia and is registered to practice both in the United States and China. Nan received his undergraduate architecture degree from the Tianjin University in China and received his Master of Architecture from Miami University of Ohio. He was a former principal of VOA Associates Inc. Nan’s expertise is in planning, hospitality and mixed- use commercial. He has been recognized for his work on the Wanfujing Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the Forbidden City in Beijing which was recently awarded the Society of British Interior Design Award of Excellence. He creates an ethos of the continuity between planning, architecture, interiors and landscape that is the foundation of this design practice.

Serena Yu Wen

Serena Yu Wen

Serena Wen, AIA, LEED AP, IIDA

Serena Wen, AIA, is a principal of UrbanLab.HCD and works in both the Beijing and Chicago offices as an architect and interior designer. She leads the interior design for all commercial, residential and hospitality facilities in the Beijing office. She has worked extensively in the United States and China. She is a former senior vice president at VOA Associates Inc. Her work has been published internationally on hospitality interior design including the recently completed Wanfujing Renaissance Hotel in Beijing, which was recently recognized by the Society of British Interior Design Award of Excellence. Serena’s experience of over 20 years includes experience with HKS in Dallas, Texas, and Perkins and Will and VOA Associates, both in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Architecture at Tianjin University in China and her Master of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the International Interior Designer Association (IIDA). Her focus on hospitality integrates the role of hotels as the new social institutions of the city.

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Marcos Leite Bastos, AIA

Marcos Leite Bastos, AIA, an architect and planner, is a principal of UrbanLab.HCD and leads the Sao Paolo office managing our work in South America. Marcos brings a strong presence and leadership in South America with deep market expertise in planning, hospitality, residential, commercial mixed-use buildings, and health care including particle therapy. Marcos’s interests reside in an architecture where the integration of building systems, technology, and a sense of place are clearly expressed, as exemplified in the recent renovation of the Hotel Nacional in Rio, Brazil. Marcos manages all aspects of design and delivery; he holds licenses and diplomas in both the United States and Brazil. With over 30 years of professional experience, his focus has been designing buildings that offer simple and artful solutions to complex problems that entail deep technical knowledge and careful attention to detail. His design approach is methodical, economical, and pragmatic yet inventive and playful. Marcos is an adjunct instructor in the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil in Sao Paolo. He has been Managing Principal of VOA Sao Paolo for 25 years.