Material Considerations in Architectural Design: A Study of the Aspects Identified by Architects for Selecting Materials

WASTIELS, Lisa and WOUTERS, Ine (2009). Material Considerations in Architectural Design: A Study of the Aspects Identified by Architects for Selecting Materials. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Material selection in architecture is not only about choosing the strongest, cheapest, or most obvious materials available. Architects also choose warm, formal, functional, or local materials for buildings. And the material options are not limited by only these considerations. The material selection process is a complex process that is influenced and determined by numerous preconditions, decisions and considerations. The current material selection tools, however, focus mainly on the technical aspects of materials. In order to make well-considered and justifiable material choices, architects have a need for information on the whole spectrum of aspects considered during the design and selection process.

Earlier work presented a framework, based on a literature study and the analysis of in-depth interviews, in which the different attributes of materials that contribute to a design project were identified and organized. To refine this framework and make it available for architects during the material selection process, a group of architects was selected and assembled into a focus group.

This study presents how the focus group identified, classified and commented on the considerations that are made by architects while selecting materials for a project. The evaluation of the collected data, and the discussion within the group, permitted the formulation of comments and resulted in a revised framework of material considerations, useful during the design and selection process of a material. Material properties (1), Experience (2), Manufacturing process (3), and Context (4) were identified as the different elements that are related to the material selection process. The four groups are presented here in detail.

Material Selection; Design Aspects; Architectural Experience; Material Attributes; Focus Group; Design Process

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:16

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