All tangible architecture is born at the confluence of design, technique, and execution. No great architectural work is bereft of it. However, the one element of architecture that not only encompasses all three, but also sometimes supercedes them is Building Material. It is the dimension of architecture that helps it attain the physical, tangible form it develops into. The knowledge of its properties, both visual and tactile, its utility, suitability, application, and availability are an inimitable part of both the practice and education of architecture.
Material in Architecture has bourne significance not only as an element of construction, but also as an element of aesthetic. This belief peaked during the time of the Bauhaus movement, ushering in a new wave of ‘modern’ architecture that revelled in the display of the building’s constructional constituents rather than its cosmetic concealment. Through various mutations and layers, the movement, or the belief has found its way to current architecture. However, can this connection between user/designer and material be made even stronger? Can architecture itself serve as a showcase of its own composition? Can adding an interactive element to it help in better understanding of materials and construction?
The brief is to design a showcase for building material in architecture itself: a “Museum of Materials” to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the role of material within construction and architecture.
Over the past few years, museums have moved from displaying preserved objects to housing sensory, experiential narratives. Thus, the exhibits in the Museum of Materials can be anything that relates to material. The idea is to draw attention to the physical, tactile and visual properties of building material through both the display and the building itself becoming characteristic of that, in an attempt for the visitor to touch these, explore, be inspired and gain knowledge of material characteristics and construction techniques.