Proper material for building


Kun Rui

“Architecture is not about form, it is about many other things,” he said. “The light and the use, and the structure, and the shadow, the smell and so on. I think form is the easiest to control, it can be done at the end.” Zumthor, who is best known for designing material-led projects such as the Therme Vals thermal baths in Switzerland and the Kunsthaus Bregenz gallery in Austria, told an audience that his ultimate goal is to “create emotional space”.

I strongly agree with his opinion. Like what his status shows, the material is one of the most important part of architecture which can control many aspects of architecture such as the light. When light spreads on the rough surface, the condition of reflection would be even. So the light in this condition would be soft and warm. In contrast, if the light spreads on a smooth surface, the light would be reflected directly and make the room extremely light. Therefore, the using of material is very important to the light condition in architecture.

For example, when an architect design a library or museum in which people need a quiet circumstance, he would choose the material with rough surface for the interior of the building. When the reflection evenly spread to different directions, the light would be soft and dim. As we know, the soft light could calm people down and make a peaceful feeling.

And with the same theory, for the market or business building, the surface of the material would be smooth. The directive reflection can make the room bright and people could see the things clearly. The luminous circumstance could improve the efficiency of people.



  1. hans5189

    Week 13_Makayla Hansen

    I would also agree that material is a very important part of a building. But I would not discount or give lesser value to all of the other aspects that go into architecture. Materiality and lighting have a strong impact on the way people feel about a space. For example, a living room with warm lighting and cushy furniture is going to feel a lot more comfortable than the florescent lighting and white tiled floors of a doctor’s office. Zeppelin Feld, the Nazi Rally grounds, is another pretty extreme example of how material can give power or make people feel suppressed. The concrete in this case gives off a cold and hard quality. However, there is also something to be said about the massive scale of this structure that effects the perceptions of it. The scale of a space can accommodate different functions, and arrangement of it can also differentiate between private and public areas. Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language is full of guidelines to designing ideal spaces. Though this book is somewhat controversial, it shows that along with material, there are many factors to successfully designing a space such as dimension, organization, and lighting. I am not saying that material is unimportant at all, but I do think that it has to be combined effectively with other factors in order to be successful.

  2. nguy2161

    Nhi Nguyen Blog Response Week 13

    I would have to also agree with your thoughts on the idea. Materiality has always played a significant role in not only the form and structure but as well as the functionality and overall feel of the space. However, I do think that material is just one of the elements that make the architectural piece successful. I also think that the site can play a big role in adding meaning to the physical building itself. For, example, Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated a physical waterfall that was found on the site into Fallingwaters. This made the overall design and experience one that is more dynamic and compelling. The building was intentionally designed as a retreat home for those who want to escape from the dense urban city life and be integrated with nature more. The building does a good job at fulfilling this goal with the fact that it is situated in a remotely rural area that is completely surrounded by nature and only nature itself. With the building extending off of a waterfall, it allows the residents to listen to the sound of the running water and be immersed with their surroundings.

    When people think of Fallingwaters, they immediately associate it with the site that it sits on and therefore makes the building itself one that is successful. The materials that were used within the construction of the architectural piece also holds importance in the overall design and is part of what makes it such an iconic building.

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