Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice
Sean Ahlquist and Achim Menges published the chapter "Materiality & Computational Design: Emerging Material Systems & the Role of Design Computation and Digital Fabrication" in the book "The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice: Established and Emerging Trends," edited by Mitra Kanaani and Dak Kopec.
Architecture is undoubtedly a system, the on-going mediation of vast matter/material hierarchies to social, economic, historical, contextual and environmental influence. Whether passive, active or impartial, materiality defines pivotal aspects towards the governing and engagement of an architectural system. When defined as a material-inherent system, the methods and technologies for material formation are investments of both a literal and conceptual nature. Modes of fabrication, as the processes of materialization, are the literal agents in defining physicality, dictating the means by which the system operates as a spatial material form. More critically, where form itself is a dynamic system, its materialization simultaneously imparts the conceptual qualities and capacities for how one engages architecture. The depths of material hierarchy at which modes of fabrication can be instrumentalized determine the potentials and precision of the architectural system to be cognizant and reactive to its critical stimuli.
Architectural form as a system of material logics and assemblages relies upon the coordinated understanding of materiality and materialization. Materiality encapsulates, in simple terms, material quality, its physical tactile nature. Materialization defines the efforts by which such qualities are formed. In collapsing the distinction between materiality and materialization, architectural form is, at once, an endeavor of creating its material quality and forming its spatial condition. This occupies the definition of morphology, which is, at once form, a consequence of its material make-up, and a repercussion of specific steps of material organization. Morphology is the apparatus at which both design and manufacture are synchronous and explicit, in how material organizes and produces a resulting definition of spatial descriptor and mediator.
Ahlquist, S. Menges, A.: 2016, Materiality & Computational Design: Emerging Material Systems & the Role of Design Computation and Digital Fabrication, in M. Kanaani and D. Kopec (eds.), The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice: Established and Emerging Trends, Routledge, New York, pp 149-168. (ISBN: 978-1-13-802315-4) (online)