Designing and Building with Material Health
We are Healthy Materials Lab, a design research lab at Parsons School of Design. We are dedicated to a world in which people’s health is placed at the center of all design decisions.
We are committed to raising awareness about toxic chemicals in building products and to creating resources for designers and architects to make healthier places for all people to live.
Alison MearsAssociate Professor of Architecture, Parsons School of Design
As Director of the Healthy Materials Lab, Alison leverages her practice-based experience as an architect and her knowledge and experience as a long-term academic leader to confront one of the more serious and often overlooked environmental challenges of our time: the health of the built environment. How do we make profound and long-term change to everyday design practice to create healthy buildings especially for those in the most need in affordable housing? HML creates resources, educational programming, and prototypical innovative housing models for a new post petroleum world. Alison is co-Principal Investigator of the Healthy Affordable Materials Project (HAMP). The Project is a long-term coalition of four organizations who work together to remove harmful chemicals from the built environment. She is also the recipient of multiple grants that support the work of the Lab.
Alison’s work draws from the long tradition at The New School University’s commitment to promoting community-based sustainability, social engagement, and environmental justice especially in her teaching in architectural design studios at Parsons. She lectures widely, disseminating current thinking within the field of material health.
She was recently awarded, with Jonsara Ruth, the 2022 Women in Architecture Innovation Award from Architectural Record. And was co-editor with Ruth of the 2023 publication “Material Health: Design Frontiers”.
Jonsara RuthCo-Founder and Design Director, Healthy Materials Lab
Jonsara Ruth is co-founder and Design Director of Healthy Materials Lab (HML) at Parsons School of Design, where she is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of the MFA Interior Design program. At HML, Jonsara brings creative leadership to the ambitious goal of improving the health of underserved communities through the transformation of design and material practices. At Parsons, Jonsara cultivates new understandings of design through her teaching, research, and convening experts from a wide variety of fields for large-scale symposia and public events.
Jonsara is a designer, artist, and founder of Salty Labs, a collaborative studio elevating everyday experience through interiors and furniture while improving human and environmental health. Currently, she serves on the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council; and was recently awarded, with Alison Mears, the 2022 Women in Architecture Innovation Award from Architectural Record.