Bio2 Design Lab

This study abroad course in Beijing and Tianjin, China, interrogates architecture’s new relationship with nature in two geographic locations and in collaboration with two disciplines. Together, architecture and biology faculty and students from Tianjin University and University of Minnesota seek ways to amplify, exceed, and extend natural capacities in the development of uncommon design solutions to common architectural problems.

We address such questions as: What unique design opportunities are possible within northern China and the middle-northern U.S., based on local ecological systems and building practices? What is the nature of interaction between conventionally distinct disciplinary territories? What transnational commonalities exist in the pursuit of hypernatural architecture?

Participants in this traveling design studio conduct in-depth analysis and generate critical design proposals that probe the disciplinary intersections between architecture and biology in two distinct cultures. In this collaborative workshop, participants are exposed to meaningful aspects of each other’s society and daily life that go beyond a typical tourist’s superficial perspective.

ARCH 4150/5250: May Term in China. Co-taught with Marc Swackhamer and Diane Willow (UMN), Wei Yang and Sun Lu (Tianjin University). Undergraduate and graduate travel abroad studio (3 credits). University of Minnesota School of Architecture.