Before Building Laboratory
University of Virginia
beforebuilding@virginia.edu





MISSION

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.

UPCOMING LECTURES
🎙 2023 Exhibit Columbus Design Presentations @ Columbus, Indiana City Hall, February 25, 2023

RECENT LECTURES
🎙 Social, Environmental, and Economic Sustainability Pecha Kucha, Georgia Tech School of Architecture, December 1, 2022
🎙 Curated Urbanisms in a Drawdown Lecture Series, Univeristy of North Carolina Charlotte, November 16, 2022
🎙 “Tangential Timber: Non-linear Wood Masonry Construction” at Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture, October 28, 2022
🎙 “(re)Building through Disruption: Biomaterials” @ AIA Virginia Conference, November 3, 2022
🎙 2022 Exhibit Columbus Symposium @ Columbus, Indiana City Hall, October 22, 2022
🎙 Natural Building Materials Panel @ Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture, October 10, 2022

RECORDED LECTURES & PODCASTS
🎙 “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

RECENT REVIEW
Journal of Architectural Education


DIRECTORS

KATIE MACDONALD, 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 and Massachusetts. She is Co-Director of the Before Building Laboratory at UVA, Co-Director of the Hemp Co-Lab at UVA, and Co-Curator of 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
Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellow, 2022-23
☆  University of Virginia Oustanding Researcher Award, 2022
☆ Tennessee Architecture Fellowship, 2019-20
☆ Emerging Designer, Virginia by Design Awards, 2018
☆ Housing Design Education Award, American Institute of Architects and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, 2020
☆ Paul M. Heffernan Travel Grant, 2015

PRESS
UVA Today
Madame Architect Profile


KYLE SCHUMANN
SCHUMANN@VIRGINIA.EDU

Kyle Schumann is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, Co-Director of the Before Building Laboratory at UVA, Cofounder of After Architecture, and Co-Curator of the Biomaterial Building Exposition. Schumann was an Editor of Pidgin from 2016-8.

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

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

AWARDS
Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellow, 2022-23
☆  University of Virginia Oustanding Researcher Award, 2022
☆ Tennessee Architecture Fellowship, 2019-20
☆ Robert A.M. Stern Architects Travel Fellowship, 2017
☆ Princeton University Fellowship, 2016-8
☆ William S. Downing Prize for Architectural Design, 2012

PRESS
Madame Architect Profile


DIRECTORS

︎ Katie MacDonald


︎ Kyle Schumann


CURRENT TEAM

︎ Collette Block


︎ Ammon Embleton


︎ Cecily Farrell


︎ Isaac Goodin


︎ Abby Hassell


︎ Rachel Lee


︎ Reagan McCullough


︎ Liv Orlando


︎ Charlotte Pitts


︎ Emily Ploppert


︎ Jonathan (Yianni) Spears


︎ Jolie Talha


︎ Dillon Mcdowell


︎ Margaret Saunders


︎ Ross Brown
︎ Charlotte Devine
︎ Cara Hu
︎ Fah Keerasuntonpong
︎ Jaeger  Lajewski
︎ Russell Petro


PAST TEAM

2022
︎ Collette Block
︎ Chris Chao
︎ Brandon Dennis
︎ Cecily Farrell
︎ Sophie Depret-Guillaume
︎ Leila Ehtesham
︎ Alex Hall
︎ 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

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