Five Frameworks to Approaching Architectural Materials Research

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In current days from materials to products, and finally to practical applications in realised buildings includes many variables to manage. These variables can include updated building regulations, innovative construction methods, demands for sustainability, or unseen design and manufacturing variables. This complexity leads to new processes and practices. Integrating architectural practices, demands, emphases, and values in the early phases of these processes, this may make the process manageable. This paper presents five frameworks for use in approaching architectural-related multidisciplinary materials research. The boundaries of said research can be imagined with the help of these frameworks, which render the objectives of the research tasks and the duties of the participants more easily comprehended, and the process clearer and more easily managed. In architectural materials research and design, the process, the research facilities, methods, or even the objectives may not be clear to all participants during the research the phase. Three of the suggested approaches are based on Leon van Schaik’s practical poetics approach. The other two approaches are conventional and are already somewhat in use in research related to architecture. These five-pronged frameworks have been applied to architectural materials research with the following concepts: master idea, in which materials research can be regarded as a continuity of a tradition; blending process, in which materials research blends equally with technological development; idea generation, in which materials research is subordinated to a design idea; design oriented, in which materials research is based on explorative design; and science oriented, when materials research is inspired by science. Each of the approaches have been further observed with sub-concepts familiar in architecture. The five frameworks have been tentatively observed within early phase cellulosic materials research studies. The practical implications of this framing will become clear when establishing materials research projects, comprehending the nature of multidisciplinary research, or steering ongoing research in a specific direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-77
Number of pages25
JournalArchitectural Research in Finland
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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