Material Resilience

One of the most sought-after characteristics in the built environment is resilience. Increasingly harmful natural disasters, volatile weather patterns, potential terrorist threats and aging infrastructure all point to the need for more robust approaches to building design and construction.

The Resilient Design Institute ( defines resilience as “the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance.” While this definition articulates a compelling idea, what does it mean specifically for building materials? With respect to advanced and emerging materials, two primary dimensions of resilience are evident: the performative resilience of materials themselves and the systemic resilience of the ecologies in which they are produced and used.

Excerpted from “Material Resilience in Two Dimensions: An Examination of the Performative and Systemic Resilience of Advanced Material Technologies.” Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 2 (April 2014): 10-15.

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