Chicago and Los Angeles, United States



Rather than design buildings that provide the societal expectations of function, Superstudio’s architecture shaped a “single continuous environment, the world rendered uniform by technology, culture, and all the other inevitable forms of imperialism.” [1] At once a surface and envelope, Superstudio’s grid promotes a truly democratic human existence; because every point on the grid is more-or-less equivalent. No room—however mega-scaled—is more important than the next. However, in retrospect, a few of Superstudio’s grids do produce structure, hierarchy, and site- specific space. In the above photo collage from Superstudio’s Super-surface, mountains frame the grid to produce a valley-scaled interior room. This project reinterprets and reexamines the meaning underlying this canonical interior. Superstudio’s technique of extension and multiplication— of grids across the landscape—is deployed to create a space infinitely reflected. This endless environment is divested of all but a few essential elements in order to reexamine, as Superstudio did, the essence of architecture and the environment.

1    Lang, Peter, and William Menking. Superstudio: Life Without Objects. (Milano: Skira Editore S.p.A., 2003), 69.


UrbanLab is an architecture and urban design office founded by Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen. The office’s realized projects range in scale from small houses to urban districts. UrbanLab’s recent book titled “Bowling” speculates on ways to realign architecture and infrastructure with dwindling natural resources. The firm was awarded the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows Latrobe Prize, the History Channel’s “City of the Future” competition, and many design awards from the American Institute of Architects. UrbanLab’s work has been published and exhibited widely, including in the 2010 and the 2012 Venice Biennale and the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The office’s work is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dunn is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Felsen is an associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

UrbanLab, Morgan Live + Work, Chicago, 2011; Photo: Matthew Messner