Landon Bone Baker Architects Labs

LBBA Labs provides an entry point for high school students to architecture, design, and planning.

In 2010, Landon Bone Baker Architects (LBBA) founded LBBA Labs, a locally and nationally recognized summer employment program that provides an entry point for high school students with an interest in architecture, design, and planning while providing leadership opportunities for college-age mentors. The lab operates under the philosophy that youth excel when they are integrated into a professional work environment and given a high degree of responsibility with leadership opportunities.

LBBA has worked across many Chicago neighborhoods for over 30 years. This long history of community-based design revealed the realities of inequity and access to design thinking that is often limited to more socioeconomically advantaged areas. Reacting to this understanding, the goal of the Labs program is to bring more youth voices into the narrative of their changing communities.

LBBA Labs encourages civic responsibility and engagement among participants and community members. This is achieved through an engagement process and public speaking component that allows for more inclusive input from building users and neighbors of the development. All of the projects that the Labs have focused on have a unique issue that makes it all the more important for students to identify and respond to the community's experience and opinions.

"...You aren't being led by the hand through a single, predetermined path. You are left to analyze and choose your plan of is ultimately your skills being put to the test, and that is the best prat about this program." - Labs participant


Linsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, DLR Group, Phoenix, Arizona

Jonathan Penndorf, FAIA, Perkins+Will, Washington, DC

Tania Salgado, FAIA, Handprint Architecture, Denver, Colorado

Image credits

airlab2011 intern building sensor with mentor


shadelab interns collecting data


airlab2011 at Rosa Parks Apartments solar roof for site visit