4.493 | Spring 2005 | Graduate

Emergent Materials II


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: One session / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: One session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

This workshop is offered for the purpose of exploring important issues and becoming more familiar with a vast array of contemporary materials that constitute the making of responsible architecture today. While delving into material properties relevant to the making of architectural assemblies, we will also investigate the emergence of forces that have driven the physical artifact of contemporary buildings. We will especially, but not exclusively, address issues pertaining to the continually evolving idea of “responsible” or sustainable architecture and design. While there has been substantial work accomplished toward the definition of the environmental impact of construction materials, there is significant work still to be accomplished. We will also become familiar with materials that are simply untested in an architectural assembly but hold a certain promise for the performance of a particular architectural construct.

The course will proceed in three modes simultaneously. I will give four lectures that establish the state of affairs in various topics critical to an understanding of contemporary architectural materials. These lectures will be given on Monday evenings. The class will also investigate particular material families as part of the process of becoming more familiar with material properties. And finally, design projects will serve as ways in which to propose the application of unfamiliar materials for the improvement of an architectural assembly. We will employ a software package that I have been involved in designing for managing material property data.


Grades will be based on your participation in two separate components:

Software Database Research, Evaluation and Input 50
Design Proposal 50


This course uses a materials software program designed in part by the faculty in conjunction with Granta Design. This is a link to that company’s Web site, where you can learn more about that software, and purchase it if you like.

CES EduPack Supplemental Teaching Resources used in the class, available through Granta Design.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2005