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Despite the critical role that research plays in defining architectural discourse, there is, at present, no comprehensive record of its development and output. By disseminating both historical and contemporary research projects through a digital format, the project presents a conversation between architects, designers, artists, urbanists, and scholars regarding the motivations, polemics, funding sources, and artifacts surrounding architecture's research culture. This study documents the proliferation of “labs” in contemporary practice and turns a critical eye on C-Lab's work (including its magazine and other publications, unsolicited projects, and commissioned planning studies) to identify themes and objectives that can help to define a direction for research in the years ahead.
Jeffrey Inaba is a faculty member at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. At GSAPP, he directs C-Lab, a research unit that focuses on describing emerging social, environmental, and technological conditions and their impact on architecture. C-Lab is recognized for its innovative methodologies, which involve distilling these complex issues into visual arguments for a general audience. C-Lab's installations and projects have been exhibited in the 2014 Venice Biennale, 2010 Whitney Biennial, the New Museum, the Architecture Foundation (London), the Walker Art Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Inaba is also the features editor of Volume magazine, and the author of numerous publications, including the recent book World of Giving (Lars Müller Publishers, 2010) and the ebook Adaptation: Architecture, Technology, and the City. In his professional career, Inaba is a principal of Inaba Williams, an architecture office that applies his research background into a unique problem-solving approach to design. He believes research leads to creative and improbable solutions that allow people to experience buildings in new ways. This stems from the office's broader philosophy to transform findings about human interaction, technology, and cities into comprehensively designed environments.
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