Construction Lab

Why do we build with certain types of materials, and not others? How do the properties and qualities of materials constrain the ways in which we build, and the ways in which we think about architecture? What do architects have to gain by thinking about matter as scientists do? How do engineers design new materials, and could architects plausibly design—and perhaps print—their own? With the continued success of materials science, in a newly networked economy, at the start of a new and unpredictable geological epoch—namely, the Anthropocene—is the way we build about to fundamentally change?  If not, should it — and how?

This course is an introduction to materials in construction and architecture. We examine how materials are used, and ask why — technically, historically, economically — they are used in those ways. We examine their birth, life and death as part of larger industrial and biospheric cycles. We survey the important advances in materials science, and cast a critical eye on reports of how materials will be used in the future.

The course schedule consists of mainly lectures, with some in-class exercises and design workshops. The assignments focus on how to make simple materials do smart things, ideally by geometry alone.

This course is required for students on the first semester of the MArchI program, and the first semester of the E&E track of the MDes program.

This course will meet in room 112 on Wednesday, August 31st.