Before Building Laboratory
University of Virginia beforebuilding@virginia.edu






The Before Building Laboratory pioneers new material assemblies, with the aim of creating building material systems that sequester carbon and reduce construction’s contribution to the environmental crisis. Current projects focus on rapidly renewable biomaterials, including wood, bamboo, grass, various invasive plant species, and hemp.

We engage emerging technologies to work with natural materials and processes in new ways, reframing the relationship between biology, technology, and authorship. We seek to advance the accessibility of computation and robotic construction, leveraging democratized and consumer-grade technologies as well as inventing and building low-cost ground-up construction systems.





RECORDINGS
🎙 League Prize 2023 Night 3: Katie MacDonald & Kyle Schumann, Joseph Altshuler & Zack Morrison, June 29, 2023, 6:30 pm EST
🎙 Natural Building Materials Panel @ Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture, October 10, 2022
🎙 “Lush: From Field to Fabrication”@ the University of Tennessee Knoxville, September 20, 2021
🎙 “This is America: Design Practices Memorializing Difficult Histories”, @ Brown University, April 13, 2021
🎙 “Growing, Buliding” @ the University of Virginia, February 23, 2021
🎙 “Growing Buildings” @ Public Bldg, August 27, 2020
🎙 “After Specification” @ the University of Virginia, July 31, 2020
🎙 “How After Architecture Balances Practice with Materials Research” @ Architect Magazine Podcast
🎙 “After Specification” @ Pecha Kucha Knoxville, November 16, 2019



KATIE MACDONALD

DIRECTOR
AIA NCARB
KMACDONALD@VIRGINIA.EDU
 

Katie MacDonald is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, Cofounder of After Architecture, and a  licensed architect in Virginia.  

MacDonald is Director of the Before Building Laboratory at UVA, where she leads material research and development. MacDonald pioneers new biomaterial assemblies, with the aim of creating building material systems that sequester carbon and reduce construction’s contribution to the environmental crisis. Current projects focus on rapidly renewable biomaterials, including wood, bamboo, grass, various invasive plant species, and hemp. 

In 2022, she co-curated the Biomaterial Building Exposition.


EDUCATION
︎ M.Arch. Harvard University
︎ B.Arch. Cornell University

PRIOR EXPERIENCE
︎ Morphosis Architects
︎ Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
︎ Clive Wilkinson Architects
︎ Stayner Architects
︎ MALL

AWARDS
The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, 2023
Cultured Magazine Young Architects List, 2021
Architect Magazine Next Progressives, 2019
☆ Emerging Designer, Virginia by Design Awards, 2018
Curbed Young Guns, 2014
Educator of the Year, Metropolis Magazine Planet Positive Awards, 2023
☆ University of Virginia Outstanding Researcher Award, Research Achievement Awards, 2022
☆ Housing Design Education Award, American Institute of Architects and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2020

FELLOWSHIPS
Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellowship, 2022-23
☆ Tennessee Architecture Fellowship, 2019-20
☆ Robert James Eidlitz Fellowship, 2017
☆ Paul M. Heffernan Travel Award, 2015


KYLE SCHUMANN

DIRECTOR
SCHUMANN@VIRGINIA.EDU



Kyle Schumann is Cofounder of After Architecture and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

Schumann is Director of the Before Building Laboratory at UVA , where he leads robotic fabrication research and development. Schumann seeks to advance the accessibility of digital fabrication, leveraging democratized technologies as well as inventing and building low-cost ground-up fabrication and imaging systems. His work spans analog processes in woodworking, metalworking, casting, ceramics, and textile production, to advanced and novel digital fabrication technologies, robotics, and machine visioning systems.

In 2022, he co-curated the Biomaterial Building Exposition.


EDUCATION
︎ M.Arch. Princeton University
︎ B.Arch. Cornell University

PRIOR EXPERIENCE
︎ Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
︎ Anmahian Winton Architects

AWARDS
The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, 2023
Cultured Magazine Young Architects List, 2021
Architect Magazine Next Progressives, 2019
Curbed Young Guns, 2014
Design Build Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2023
☆ University of Virginia Outstanding Researcher Award, Research Achievement Awards, 2022
☆ William S. Downing Prize for Architectural Design, 2012

FELLOWSHIPS
Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellowship, 2022-23
☆ Tennessee Architecture Fellowship, 2019-20
☆ Robert A.M. Stern Architects Travel Fellowship, 2017
☆ Robert James Eidlitz Fellowship, 2017
☆ Princeton University Fellowship, 2016-8


RESEARCHERS

︎ Shiza Chaudhary


︎ Ammon Embleton


︎ Margaret Saunders


︎ Paul Bourdin
︎ Kristina Dickey
︎ Leila Ehtesham
︎ Brandon Meinders


PAST RESEARCHERS

2023
︎ Ross Brown
︎ Shiza Chaudhary
︎ Charlotte Devine
︎ Ammon Embleton
︎ Cecily Farrell
︎ Isaac Goodin
︎ Cara Hu
︎ Fah Keerasuntonpong
︎ Jaeger Lajewski
︎ Dillon Mcdowell
︎ Brandon Meinders
︎ Chris Osterlund
︎ Abbey Partika
︎ Emily Ploppert
︎ Charlotte Pitts
︎ Margaret Saimders
︎ Valerie Speirs
︎ Jolie Talha
︎ Julia West
︎ Natalie Zuppas

2022
︎ Collette Block
︎ Ross Brown
︎ Chris Chao
︎ Brandon Dennis
︎ Cecily Farrell
︎ Sophie Depret-Guillaume
︎ Leila Ehtesham
︎ Alex Hall
︎ Abby Hassell
︎ Caleb Hassell
︎ Mia Hsu
︎ Kristopher Kollias
︎ Jaeger Lajewski
︎ Rachel Lee
︎ Chujun Dina Luo
︎ Meredith Magness
︎ Reagan McCullough
︎ Dillon Mcdowell
︎ Liv Orlando
︎ Chris Osterlund
︎ Russell Petro
︎ Charlotte Pitts
︎ Emily Ploppert
︎ Timothy Victorio
︎ Andrew Spears
︎ Jonathan (Yianni) Spears
︎ Valerie Speirs
︎ Cecilia Yiyue Su
︎ Jolie Talha
︎ Haoran Zhang
︎ Natalie Zuppas

2021
︎ Collette Block
︎ Brandon Dennis
︎ Youfang Duan
︎ Leila Ehtesham
︎ Ephrata Johannes
︎ Kristopher Kollias
︎ Audrey Lewis
︎ Chujun Dina Luo
︎ Meredith Magness
︎ Jacob McLaughlin
︎ Lizzie Needham
︎ Kate Nguyen
︎ Chris Osterlund
︎ Andrew Spears
︎ Elizabeth Tatham
︎ Timothy Victorio

2020
︎ Sarina Hermanto
︎ Mason Millner
︎ Lisa Rowland
︎ Kevin Saslawsky

2019
︎ Connor Brown
︎ Tim Cox
︎ Ellie Cuthrell
︎ Brian Gore
︎ Aria Hill
︎ Mason Millner
︎ Alex Munro
︎ Jack Wasielewski

2018
︎ Brian Gore
︎ Brianna Morales

2017
︎ Brianna Morales