Stimulus Package

Recent developments in materials science offer tremendous opportunities for invention. This is particularly so with smart materials and nanomaterials that react to changes that they “sense” in their environment. The intent of this workshop is to conceive how architecture might be transformed by advanced materials that are just emerging in the field.

Smart materials show a significant change in one or more of their properties when they are stimulated. A variety of external stimuli can cause these materials to change color, shape, fluidity, etc.; the stimulus might be thermal, electrical, mechanical, chemical, magnetic, or photonic. The changes in the properties of smart materials are deeply rooted in the nanoscale—the scale of individual molecules—and are often a direct result of chemical reactions or phase changes.

As architects shift away from the mores of merely reinventing artifacts, and toward a culture of discovery and invention, they will need to think about how advanced materials should be designed to behave in products and environments that heretofore have never been possible. By exploring relationships between smart materials and more conventional material systems, this workshop, Stimulus Package, examines the promises of smart materials and their tremendous implications for the future of architecture.

ARCH 5110: Architecture as Catalyst. Co-taught with Martina Decker and Peter Yeadon (Decker Yeadon). Graduate design workshop (1 credit). University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

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