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An Article from the January 2005 JOM-e: A Web-Only Supplement to JOM

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LETTER TO EDITOR

Materials in Architecture: Will We Ever Meet the Demands?

Spiro N. Pollalis

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OTHER PRESENTATIONS IN THE SERIES

EDITOR'S NOTE: The symposium on Materials and Critical Societal Issues was held during the Materials Science & Technology 2004 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana in September 2004. The speakers' slides from several of the presentations were collected and converted to into portable document format (PDF) files, and a video presentation of "Material Engineering Challenges for the Society of Tomorrow: Housing, Transportation, Health, and Food Delivery Needs", is available for viewing as part of this month's JOM-e.

In architecture, we ask for the impossible: extraordinary properties of structural materials and immortality of the construction materials at a low cost and with a long performance warranty. We also ask for a new generation of materials, integrated with sensors, with changing properties subject to changing conditions, with built-in logic. Yet, today, architecture bases the thrust of its innovation on creating form and space, introducing new assemblies and uses of centuries-old materials.

With no central authority to institute changes in the highly fragmented design and construction industry, this presentation focuses on the needs of architects, such as continuous performance with no down time, and handling the sun, the rain, and temperature cycles with affordability and sensitivity to the environment. In this presentation, case studies demonstrate such requirements, solutions, and their compromises and opportunities with today’s available materials. In addition, new demands are examined, springing from applications of information technology integrated into material properties and thoughts about future developments.

For more information, contact Spiro N. Pollalis, Harvard University, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138; (617) 495-9939; spiro_pollalis@gsd.harvard.edu.

 


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