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Framework of Material Considerations in Architectural Design: The interaction between context, manufacturing, experience and material aspects

Lisa Wastiels , Ine Wouters

Material selection in architecture is not always based on conscious and well-considered decisions. This paper aims to get a better insight in the aspects that contribute to these decisions taken during the material selection process. A focus group study and in-depth interviews allowed to identify ‘context’, ‘manufacturing process’, ‘experience’, and ‘material aspects’ as the elements that are considered by architects when selecting materials. In this paper, the interaction between the different aspects is investigated and discussed. The context will create a set of reconditions to start from or to frame and guide decisions in the other fields. Aspects concerning the experience, manufacturing process, and the material behavior, will interact and influence each other and will be considered based on the given context. In order to make justifiable material choices, the architect will run through all four considerations before making a final material decision.


material selection, design aspects, architectural experience