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Material Imagination in Architecture draws on history and the visual arts, and contemporary architecture to explore this popular theme in architectural practice and education. In the context of a discipline increasingly driven by digital production, this text explores architecture and making and the diverse influences on the material reality of architectural form: it argues that the crafts, fabrication and assemblage of its making remain vital elements of contemporary architectural language. This broad-ranging text bridges the gap between a technical or otherwise fragmentary knowledge of materials of the specialist, and the tacit or instinctive understanding of materials that the artist, sculptor or architect may have. It identifies key material themes pertinent to contemporary architectural debate and develops a discourse about future practice that is framed by environmental imperatives and grounded in a historical understanding of the meaning and use of materials. Material iconology in architecture is a well-established tradition and this book draws on that background to investigate the possibilities, and limits, of using materials in contemporary design to communicate the themes and contexts of an architectural project, a material’s relationship to context, and to the history of practices that belong to the traditions of making buildings. Each theme is explored in case studies from twelve countries around the world, including the UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia and China.
In recent years architectural discourse has witnessed a renewed interest in materiality under the guise of such familiar tropes as 'material honesty,' 'form finding,' or 'digital materiality.' Motivated in part by the development of new materials and an increasing integration of designers in fabricating architecture, a proliferation of recent publications from both practice and academia explore the pragmatics of materiality and its role as a protagonist of architectural form. Yet, as the ethos of material pragmatism gains more popularity, theorizations about the poetic imagination of architecture continue to recede. Compared to an emphasis on the design of visual form in architectural practice, the material imagination is employed when the architect 'thinks matter, dreams in it, lives in it, or, in other words, materializes the imaginary.' As an alternative to a formal approach in architectural design, this book challenges readers to rethink the reverie of materials in architecture through an examination of historical precedent, architectural practice, literary sources, philosophical analyses and everyday experience. Focusing on matter as the premise of an architect’s imagination, each chapter identifies and graphically illustrates how material imagination defines the conceptual premises for making architecture.
Covering 250 years of design tools and technologies, this book reveals how architects have produced the drawings, models, renderings and animations which show us the promise of what might be built.
Writer, architect, teacher and renderer Daniel Willis takes on an immense range of topics in this provocative work. His ideas, drawn from literature, philosophy, pop culture, and everyday life, challenge readers to rethink their participation in the built environment around them.
This book is about materials. The fundamental properties and technical aspects are reviewed within a context of a material’s history, the theories of its meaning and making, and its use. Information about the sustainability aspects of each material is included (as a critical necessity in construction). Innovative design comes from an understanding of materials for what they are, how they have been used in the past, and how they can support human activity. The author provides essential information to students and professionals concerned with advancing their design at a time when the consumption of natural resources and the consequences of wasteful practices are of urgent concern. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

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