Float Lab

FloatLab is a platform, a vessel, a lens, and a threshold through which the public will experience the Schuylkill River and its ecology in a meaningful and unprecedented way. Offering an eye-level view of the river, FloatLab is designed to reconnect Philadelphians and visitors with their natural setting. As a programmatic loop, the project combines its educational functions - remediation workshops, educational events, living laboratories - with unexpected visual and physical relationships with the water's surface. This shift in perspective, in addition to the sound and environmental art installation, will create a space that indexes and measures the invisible properties of the water, examining the relationship between environmental science, environmental experience, and environmental stewardship.

In 2016, we built a yellow steel prototype to test the buoyancy and experience. Fabrication of the ring will begin in late 2018.

Philadelphia Mural Arts is acting as collaborator and client for FloatLab with support from the William Penn Foundation. Floatlab has also been awarded an MIT CAST grant, an MIT CAU grant, as well as an honorable mention for the 2018 Progressive Architecture awards through Architect Magazine.


Lead Designer

Elle Gerdeman, AIA

Project Team

Zach Seibold
Max Jarosz
Gina Ciancone


Alexander Kobald
Valeria Rivera Deneke
Borislav Angelov
William McKenna


Meejin Yoon, AIA & Eric Höweler, AIA

Marine Architect

Brian Streb, C.R. Cushing & Co., New York

Civil Engineer

Urban Engineers
Architectural Design
Schuylkill River, PA