Material exploration and engagement: Strategies for investigating how multifunctional materials can be used as design drivers in architecture

Bohnenberger, S 2013, Material exploration and engagement: Strategies for investigating how multifunctional materials can be used as design drivers in architecture, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Material exploration and engagement: Strategies for investigating how multifunctional materials can be used as design drivers in architecture
Author(s) Bohnenberger, S
Year 2013
Abstract Since the early 2000s, primarily research-based projects have focused on the use of new materials such as shape-memory alloys, light-emitting diodes (LED), film-encased photovoltaic cells and thermochromic paints. These materials offer a wide range of outstanding possibilities to the construction industry through their capacity to sense and respond to external environmental stimuli.
However, the advent of smart materials – multifunctional materials that are designed by chemists, physicists and biologists - pose challenges for design practices exploring such innovations.
Given the rich potential of these emerging materials and technologies for architecture, I was intrigued to know: what is necessary to introduce these materials in architecture?
In this thesis, I report on design strategies that involve extrinsic and intrinsic material properties. My research strategies included the use of digital design tools, physical computing and haptic-intuitive workflows in order to bypass a lengthy iterative design and analysis process through rapid intuitive feedback.
My research demonstrates the necessity of both a digital and physical interaction with previously little- or un-used engineered advanced materials, if the use of those materials is to drive change in the overall material system.
This proposition is developed and tested by practice-based research and design explorations. Centred on the idea of material-driven design processes, my research addresses the work of architects, engineers and materials scientists and locates opportunities for working together within a trans-disciplinary environment. Having direct interaction with materials and their behaviours generates an awareness of the material possibilities that enables architects to engage with engineers and materials scientists. In considering both theoretical and practical implications, my research contributes to the discussion of multifunctional materials as they emerge and their applications within architecture.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) Smart Materials
Architecture and Design
Design research
Materials science
Structural Engineering
Computational Design
Interactive Design
Triangulated Research
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Created: Tue, 03 Dec 2013, 13:42:42 EST by Leona Campitelli
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