Jenny Sabin Studio

The Architectural League Prize 2014
Jenny Sabin Studio
Jenny E. Sabin


Jenny E. Sabin, Principal and Founder of Philadelphia-based Jenny Sabin Studio, is an architectural designer, artist, and educator. Her work, in her words, “investigates the intersection of architecture and science, and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of material structures.” Past projects include Branching Morphogenesis, a three-dimensional “datascape” made from 75,000 zip ties; Polymorph, a project exploring digital fabrication of ceramic form; and myThread Pavilion, a work commissioned by the Nike Flyknit Collective that transformed patterns of biological data into knitted structure.

Jenny Sabin Studio is one of the winners of the 2014 Architectural League Prize, one of North America’s most prestigious awards for young architects and designers. The prize, established in 1981, recognizes exemplary and provocative work by young practitioners and provides a public forum — through lectures, an exhibition, and a catalogue — for the exchange of their ideas.

In the interview above, Sabin details the growth of her practice through experimental collaboration between scientists and designers. Interpreting the Prize’s theme of Overlay as an “active datascape,” Sabin presents three projects in a grid on the wall, a pattern inspired by the warp and weft of weaving. This curation of her work highlights the intersection of scientific practice — including cellular biology, ecology, and mathematics — and design, with complex principles and datasets modeled and visualized through textiles, ceramics, and more.


Jenny E. Sabin, Jenny Sabin Studio, League Prize 2014, complete lecture video | Recorded June 26, 2014

In her League Prize lecture, Sabin describes the foundations of her work as applying conceptual models from biology and nature to architecture in a deep investigation of material systems and form. Also deeply influenced by the processes of weaving and knitting as well as her background in ceramics, Sabin works in partnership with scientists, artists, and others in a new model for transdisciplinary collaboration. She presents six projects: Foyer Tapestry, which weaves sound patterns in thread using a digitized jacquard loom; Branching Morphogenesis; eSkin, which investigates the building as an organism using passively responsive materials and sensors; Generative Fabrication, a prototype to print clay stoneware using 3D printing technology; Digital Ceramics: PolyMorph; and myThread Pavilion.

Click the image to launch a slideshow of work by Jenny Sabin Studio.

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Jenny E. Sabin is an Assistant Professor in the area of Design and Emerging Technologies in Architecture at Cornell University. She is also the founder and director of Sabin Design Lab at Cornell and the co-founder of the research and design network LabStudio. Sabin holds an undergraduate degree with Honors in Ceramics and Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the University of Washington and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Architectural League Prize, established in 1981, recognizes exemplary and provocative work by young practitioners and provides a public forum for the exchange of their ideas.

Visit the 2014 League Prize feature for more information about this year’s winners, the theme of Overlay, and photos of the exhibition installation. See the complete list of past winners here.

Click the image to launch a slideshow of work by Jenny Sabin Studio.

myThread Pavilion | photo: Simin Wang

myThread Pavilion | photo courtesy of Nike, Inc.

Digital Ceramics: PolyMorph | photo: Jenny E. Sabin

Digital Ceramics: PolyMorph | photo: Jenny E. Sabin

Digital Ceramics: PolyMorph | drawing courtesy of Jenny E. Sabin

Greenhouse & Cabinet of Future Fossils | photo: Brent Wahl

Greenhouse & Cabinet of Future Fossils | photo: Brent Wahl

Greenhouse & Cabinet of Future Fossils | photo: Brent Wahl