Kent Larson

Kent Larson directs the Changing Places research group at the MIT Media Lab.  He is also director of the MIT House_n Research Consortium and the MIT Living Labs initiative in the School of Architecture and Planning.  Current research is focused on three related areas: 


1)     Responsive Urban Housing.  Strategies to disentangle places of living into three independently configured layers: high performance chassis, integrated infill, and responsive façade modules to create zero-energy, mass-customized, scalable housing.   The group’s Open Prototype Initiative has completed several prototypes created with these concepts, including a zero-energy home at Unity College, Maine for the school’s president. 

2)     Ubiquitous Technologies.  Wireless sensing, algorithms, and interfaces to understand and respond to human activity.  Projects range from fine-grain activity recognition using wearable accelerometers, a persuasive thermostat using GPS location of occupants, and a context-aware tunable LED lighting for office environments. 

3)     Living Lab Experiments.  Deploying and testing design and technology solutions in actual living environments.   Studies have been conducted at the scale of the person, home, office, and city.  


Larson practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City, with work published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Global Architecture, the New York Times, A+U, and Architectural Digest.  His book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in Architecture, 2000 by the New York Times Review of Books.  Related work was selected by Time magazine as a "Best Design of the Year" project.

Current Research

Changing Places and House_n
Change is accelerating, but the places we create are largely static and unresponsive. House_n, an MIT Department of Architecture Rearch Consortium, explores how new technologies, materials, and strategies for design can make possible dynamic, evolving places that respond to the complexities of life.

Changing Places and House_n Research Topics (pdf)
House_n Current Student Projects (pdf)
House_n Portable Research Tools (pdf)
House_n Research Group Publications

Metropolis MagazineMetropolis Magazine: Living for Tomorrow (pdf, article about House_n)

globeBoston Globe Sunday Magazine (pdf, cover article about House_n)

The MIT Open Source Building Alliance (OSBA)
OSBA has been established to develop and test strategies (and ultimately, recommend standards) that will lead to the scalable introduction of new materials, technologies, applications, and services into the built environment.

The MIT Open Source Building Alliance Prospectus (pdf)
Open Source Building: Reinventing Places of Living (pdf)

An apartment-scale shared research facility where new technologies and design concepts can be tested and evaluated in the context of everyday living.

PlaceLab Overview (pdf)

PlaceLab PlaceLab: Boston Globe (pdf, article)

· Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterwork

Book by Kent Larson 
Monacelli Press,  October 2000 
Introduction by Vincent Scully 
Afterward by William J. Mitchell 

Book Description & Unbuilt Ruins Exhibition
Book  Reviews

· The Unbuilt Project

Museum of Contemporary Art in LA: End of the Century Exhibition

· Professional Work

Selected Projects

· Kent Larson Curriculum Vitae

Narrative and Long Form CV (pdf)