chapter  4
36 Pages

MATERIAL and IMMATERIAL

Architects-from Vitruvius to Le Corbusier, Alberti to Wright, and Viollet-le-Duc to Kahn-

have discussed the importance of materiality in architecture. Since the beginning of

architectural history, designers and builders articulated both practical and theoretical

principles on how materials are to be procured, refined, stored, and assembled. Architecture

is, of course, the putting together of materials: stone, wood, brick, etc. Throughout much

of architectural history, architects focused on qualities of solidity, permanence, and

heaviness. In opposition, new materials have enabled new qualities: Can buildings be

more transparent, maybe ghostly or invisible? Can buildings become lighter, maybe able

to float? Can buildings be made to move, maybe daily? Exemplified by Diller and Scofidio’s

“Blur Building” at the 2002 Swiss Expo, where the primary building material was fog, the

exploration of “immateriality” in architecture is relatively new.