Construction Lab

This course is an introduction to materials in both science and construction. The motivation is to equip the next generation of architects with the means to make sense of the rapid changes occurring in our material culture today.

The lecture series is divided into three parts. The aim of the first part is to establish a qualitative grounding in some key aspects of physics. This is done through a history of measurement, materials and thermodynamics. It turns out that the secret to understanding materials is ‘scale’. Materials have an internal architecture that can be designed to control a variety of phenomena in surprising ways.

The second part introduces some of the science of materials. This includes how to categorize materials, some of the mechanics of materials, the relationship of materials to heat, how to design new materials, and what makes biological materials special.

The third part contextualizes this knowledge. Subjects for lectures include the ecology of materials, the history of their use in construction, why only certain materials dominate in construction, and the status of materials science now and in the near future.