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    Edited by Blaine Brownell | nbbj

    TRANSMATERIAL

    A catalog of materials, products and processesthat are redefining our physical environment.

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    TRANSMATERIAL

    Unlike the artist, who interacts directly withhis or her palette, the architect is one-step

    removed from the physical substance thatmakes architecture. This synapse often breedsignorance about what materials are availableor what properties they possess, which is rein-forced by the fact that most buildings are stillcomprised by relatively conventional productsand systems despite the wide variety available.

    Indeed, when one assesses the diverse and

    fantastic range of materials available today,one realizes the extent to which humanity hasbeen hell-bent for innovation. One sees not afixed catalog of products, but rather a con-stantly shifting array of materials which offercontinual improvements upon known standardsor which render those standards obsolete.

    Within this ever-changing inventory, several

    broad classifications arise which elucidate thematerial transformations that are occurring.By analyzing the most innovative products andprocesses according to these expansive trends,it is my hope that we can gain a greater com-prehension of these developments in order toimbue our physical environment with the sameunrelenting expectations for innovation.

    i

    TRANSMATERIAL

    http://transstudio.comBlaine Brownell

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    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION

    CODE

    ULTRAPERFORMING

    MULTIDIMENSIONAL

    REPURPOSED

    RECOMBINANT

    INTELLIGENT

    TRANSFORMATIONAL

    INTERFACIAL

    i

    iii

    1

    27

    44

    62

    96

    121

    144

    ii

    TRANSMATERIAL

    http://transstudio.comBlaine Brownell

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    CODE

    Each product sheet is codified with a varietyof information to enhance data retrieval and

    further research. The system includes the fol-lowing components:

    Quoted source

    Product thumbnail

    Primary category

    CSI division+s softwareh hardware01 general02 sitework03 concrete04 masonry05 metals06 wood + plastics07 thermal + moisture protection08 doors + windows09 finishes

    10 specialties11 equipment12 furnishings13 special construction14 conveying systems15 mechanical16 electrical

    Product inventor/manufacturer

    Reference source

    Hyperlink

    03

    UP

    optics.orgWebsite

    LiTraCon

    http://www.litracon.com/

    OliverGraydon,

    Concretecastsnew

    lightindullroomsinoptics.org,

    11M

    arch2004

    iii

    TRANSMATERIAL

    http://transstudio.comBlaine Brownell

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    ULTRAPERFORMING

    Throughout human history, material innovationhas been defined by the persistent testing of

    limits. Ultra-performing materials are thosewhich are stronger, lighter, more durable, andmore flexible than their conventional counter-parts. These materials are important becausethey shatter known boundaries and necessitatenew thinking about the shaping of our physicalenvironment.

    Interestingly enough, one of the most signifi-

    cant trends in material innovation is actuallydematerialization. The ongoing pursuit of thin-ner, more porous, and less opaque productsindicates a notable movement towards greaterexposure and ephemerality. The recent fabrica-tion of translucent concrete, for example, issignificant because what has been understoodto be a thick, heavy, and opaque material cannow transmit light. We can now see through

    walls.

    It should come as no surprise that ultra-per-forming materials are generally expensive anddifficult to obtain, although many of the follow-ing products are being developed for a broadmarket.

    UP

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    OPTOELECTRONIC COMPUTER

    For decades, silicon, with its talent for carryingelectrons, has been the mainstay of computing.

    But for a variety of reasons, were rapidly ap-proaching the day when electrons will no longercut it. Within 10 years, in fact, silicon will fallto the computer scientists triple curse: Itsbulky, its slow, and it runs too hot. At thispoint, computers will need a new architecture,one that depends less on electrons and moreon optics.

    With the assistance of award-winning firmfrogdesign, Forbes ASAP has designed andbuilt (virtually, of course) the computer of2010. Whenever possible, our newly designedcomputer replaces stodgy old electrons withshiny, cool-running particles of light - photons.Electrons remain, doing everything they do best(switching), while photons do what they dobest (traveling very, very fast). In other words,

    weve brought the speed and bandwidth ofoptical communications inside the computer it-self. This mix is called optoelectronics, anotherbuzzword we encourage you to start using im-mediately. The result is a computer that is farmore reliable, cheaper, and more compact--theentire thing, believe it or not, is about the sizeof a Frisbee - than the all-electronic solution.But above all, optoelectronic computing is

    faster than whats available today. How fast?In a decade, we believe, you will be able to buyat your local computer shop the equivalent oftodays supercomputers. Forbes

    Website

    frogdesign

    http://www.forbes.com/asap/00/0821/087.htm

    KipCrosby,

    IntroducingtheC

    omputerof2010ForbesASAPCoverStory,

    08/21/00

    h

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    HIGH-PERFORMANCE CONCRETE

    03

    DuctalWebsite

    LaFarge

    Imagine a footbridge as long as a football fieldwith a platform as thick as your hand. Or a 6

    x 10 sheet just 1 inch thick that bends as itcontinues to support a 2,000 lb car.

    Working in collaboration with Rhodia andBouygues, Lafarge has developed a wholenew family of concretes called Ductal. Theseconcretes have high compressive and flexuralstrength, and their special characteristics en-able the achievement of outstanding architec-

    tural feats.

    Ductal concrete incorporates strengtheningfibers and opens the horizon to ultra-high per-formance due to its special composition whichprovides it with outstanding strength, six toeight times greater than traditional concrete(under compression).

    Fiber-reinforced means that it contains metalfibers which make it a ductile material. Highlyresistant to bending, its great flexural strengthmeans it can withstand significant transforma-tions without breaking. Ductal also comes withorganic fibers for applications with less loadand for architectonic applications

    http://64.227.188.244/imagineductal/home.asp

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    LIGHT-TRANSMITTING CONCRETE

    03

    optics.orgWebsite

    LiTraCon

    The days of dull, grey concrete could be aboutto end. A Hungarian architect has combined

    the worlds most popular building material withoptical fiber from Schott to create a new typeof concrete that transmits light.

    A wall made of LitraCon allegedly has thestrength of traditional concrete but thanks toan embedded array of glass fibers can displaya view of the outside world, such as the silhou-ette of a tree, for example.

    Thousands of optical glass fibers form a ma-trix and run parallel to each other between thetwo main surfaces of every block, explainedits inventor ron Losonczi. Shadows on thelighter side will appear with sharp outlines onthe darker one. Even the colours remain thesame. This special effect creates the generalimpression that the thickness and weight of a

    concrete wall will disappear.The hope is that the new material will trans-form the interior appearance of concrete build-ings by making them feel light and airy ratherthan dark and heavy.

    http://www.litracon.com/

    OliverGraydon,

    Concretecastsnew

    lightindullroomsinoptics.org,

    11M

    arch2004

    UP

    5

    TRANSMATERIAL

    http://transstudio.comBlaine Brownell

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    TRANSLUCENT CONCRETE

    03

    Metropolis

    Bill Price

    An idea hatched in the research department ofOMA promises to transform the nature of build-

    ings. Inventor Bill Price conjures up the ultimatematerial: translucent concrete.

    My ultimate goal was to create a material tochange concrete - but still keep the construc-tion technique intact, Price says, switchingto a slide of a poured block of translucentconcrete made from a crushed-glass aggregateand a plastic binder. Lit from underneath, it

    seems to breathe light like the sun breakingthrough winter ice. He reaches behind him ontothe bookshelf, takes a small cylinder madefrom the same material, and places it and twoother samples onto his desk. They look likehigh-design paperweights: crushed glass, plas-tic tubes, and crushed opaque gravel frozen intranslucent plastic. Its easy to imagine a table-top made of this material - or an entire wall of

    a house, theater, or museum...

    Translucent concrete will need to be furtherres