The University Co-op Materials Resource Center maintains one of the largest and most comprehensive academic material collections of its kind at any college or university in the country. With 30,000+ material samples and corresponding product literature, the collection consists of traditional building construction materials; however, it strives to be reflective of the current building and design market and has a particular focus on smart, innovative, merging and sustainable design materials and technologies. One of the center's goals is to maintain a current and up-to-date collection, and its staff is continually contacting manufacturers to acquire new and innovative samples.
The collection is organized by the Construction Specifications Institute's [CSI] Master Format to familiarize students with the industry standards during their undergraduate and graduate education before entering the design profession.
With the assistance of the University Co-operative Society, the Materials Resource Center, which encompasses the material collection, gallery / exhibition space, classrooms, as well as the Architectural Conservation lab was established in the fall 2001. It was the product of a merger between the Interior Design program – originally located in the School of Human Ecology [Textiles + Apparel] – and the School of Architecture in 1997. Before the two came together, the architecture school and the interior design program each maintained their own private materials collections.