Material Introduction


The catalogue of materials is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. Then the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins.  (Marco Polo & Kuabla Kan- visit only one city, Venice)--Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

  • Architecture has always been sustainable. Venice is made from marbles all over the world, collected from their travel to look for salt. Salt mining was big. When Austrians took over, they realized Venice is sinking so, built walls; separated lagoons from sea. 
  • A history of materials create a narrative for a city: (ex,- Wand Shu: Ningbo Historic Museum) 


Understanding materials in a political implication & power: ex- Columbia government and building libraries to create jobs for the local youth; to stray away from drug wars: This changed people’s behavior while creating beautiful environments.

MATERIAL & ENERGY: Extreme poverty, environment, energy

  • Energy is intrinsic to materials: fossil fuel (patrol) , plastics, our economy
  • Buildings can get “sick”/ rot if there is no air going in and out (central air = using a lot of energy and causes pollution) 
  • 70% of air pollution is from buildings not cars. Leads to children with asthma 
  • North Pacific plastic gayer: naturally created plastic waste island; created by the currents of the oceans; clump of plastic trash, found via satellite. (larger than Texas state). 



Our choice of materials has a power to impact the world: There is bamboo mixed charcoal that lasts longer, rather than the economic viability and burden of wood charcoal. 

For example, the Line of Deforestation between Haiti & Dominican Republic: when you are in extreme poverty, you cut down trees to cook = deforestation  on one side. The land gets ravaged. Material of wood is critical. Alternate materials are bamboo?

Different types of wood, however, are extremely sustainable: ebony, mahogany take decades to grow  so not sustainable. Pine and cider are softer but grows quickly. & inexpensive



Today, with technology, we can now use new substrates and natural chemicals that create high strengths with bamboo.

  • Bamboo grows 1 meter in 24 hrs ; given the right conditions
  • 10x’s stronger than steel  (cultural perspective on wood vs. bamboo)
  • Bamboo is a Rhizome system- meaning it’s roots grow  horizontally not and it’s closer to grass as a species
  • We can eat bamboo, use it as paper in the empire times of China (2,000 yrs)
  • Bamboo grows vertically and it was create b/c the text is written that way too