Throughout history, the development of new materials and technologies has enabled more functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings. With the advent of sustainable architecture, the role of materials science in building innovation is becoming more prominent than ever.
Materials for architecture and design
Throughout history, the development of new materials and technologies has enabled functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings. With the advent of sustainable architecture, the role of materials science in building innovation is becoming more prominent. In this issue, we explore the materials science of architecture and design.
Wood has great potential as a building material, because it is strong and lightweight, environmentally friendly and can be used in prefabricated buildings. However, only changes in building codes will make wood competitive with steel and concrete.
Auxetic materials deform in an unusual way when stretched or compressed; they are flexible and adaptable, and, if made from responsive materials, can react to their environment. This Comment explores the opportunities they offer for innovative applications in fashion, design and architecture.
Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) offer a unique opportunity to ‘invisibly’ integrate semi-transparent photovoltaic architectural elements, such as electrodeless glazing units, into the building envelope. This Review highlights the advancements making LSCs a realistic technology for near zero-energy buildings, along with the remaining challenges and strategies for further device optimization.
Designer materials and advanced fabrication technologies are transforming architecture, so that architects, engineers and materials scientists now work side by side to develop innovative architectural solutions. This Review follows these developments for different materials, in particular wood, ceramics, metals, concrete, glass, synthetic composites and polymers.