The call for submissions for the themed issue “The Good Material” of The Plan Journal (TPJ) asks:
How can we advance materials science, design creativity and technological innovation for a smarter, more sustainable, and humane materiality and tectonics?
The call elaborates:
With the world facing increasing environmental challenges amidst an unprecedented public health crisis and rising social inequalities and racial tensions, the call for a healthier and more sustainable physical environment is becoming an unavoidable imperative. The design fields have a responsibility and a unique opportunity to answer this call, and thus the need for a new materiality is emerging with urgency. We need more sustainable materials, more efficient and lasting construction systems, less waste, smarter recycling processes, community driven experimentation, research and innovation for a new tectonics capable to leverage our collective design intelligence across disciplines, communities and cultures.
Maurizio Sabini, Editor-in-Chief of The Plan Journal
We share some ideas and visions in two contributions to TPJ’s The Good Material issue that resonated with us. In “Silver Tower. Bio-Engineered Matter with Silver Skin,” the author Sung Ho Kim illustrates how the SILVER TOWER | Bio-Engineered MATTER with Silver Skin project raises “awareness of global warming” by “embracing the emergence of the new order of unifying design, science and nature to initiate a dialogue of amplifying the knowledge of architecture.” In the article “2 in 1 – A Playful Approach to the Sustainable Use of Building Materials,” the authors Angie Müller-Puch, Erik Hegre and Michael Innerarity recognize that “to the observer, the building industry strives to develop the most optimized construction materials to build faster, better and cheaper, which has created an expanding pallet of increasingly complex, highly specific product systems. As a result, it is assumed that buildings are comprised of an established collection of parts, selected from a catalogue, and have the consequence of a one-time useful lifespan.”
Finally, we share some closing remarks and thoughts about additional research in The Good Material arena.
The Plan Journal looks at design testing and new approaches.
A future in which “every living matter is valued and embraced because of its invisible interrelationship it carries through its cellular level.” In the article “Silver Tower. Bio-Engineered Matter with Silver Skin,” about a tower project in Chicago, the author Sung Ho Kim explains that “research into new organic living material and growth medium is the necessary structures to sustain and expanding the lexicon of performative skins, negotiating adverse environmental conditions.”
Rendering view of silver skin and open-air vertical garden space.
Kim poignantly explains:
Climate change is the greatest threat to human history. It affects humanity’s health through severe storms, rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, drought and fires initiating a cascade of consequences that devastates the global ecology. To find more sustainable ways of living we need to search deep inside all living organisms, down to the cellular level, as codependent partners on this planet. We have witnessed the devastation of what a plague and a pandemic can do to our fragile social, political, racial and economic ecology. This is just a warning to what is to come if we continue to strain the planet for immediate gains while neglecting the effects of our destructive lifestyles.
>> Check out the abstract here.
“if we [were to] use and assemble materials in a way that they can serve multiple functions at one time?” In the article “2 in 1 – A Playful Approach to the Sustainable Use of Building Materials,” the authors Angie Müller-Puch, Erik Hegre and Michael Innerarity urge us to think about “our buildings as toolboxes, as a part of a bigger lifecycle, constructed with elements users can flexibly use and exchange.”
2 in 1 – Exterior view - Integrated façade elements, Smart Living Lab.
Müller-Puch et al. explain that their “2 in 1 design strategy doesn’t claim to be the only or most efficient approach to sustainable design. But it tries to give an alternative answer to the social and environmental challenges of our time through the creative application of good and sustainable material.”
>> Check out the abstract here.
Each material has its specific characteristics in which we must understand it if we want to use it. In other words, no design is possible until the materials with which you design are completely understood.
Mies van der Rohe
In the recently released book Unless: The Seagram Building Construction Ecology, Kiel Moe investigates the Seagram Building and in so doing relates how design embodies a co-influence between humans and nature.
Unless as well as the scholarly contributions to “The Good Material” issue of The Plan Journal [Volume 6/2021 – Issue 2] add relevance to the critical cross-disciplinary dialogue about the environmental challenges we must face head-on. Again, as Sabini points out, the design fields must vehemently grapple with these issues because “the need for a new materiality is emerging with urgency.”
>> To learn more about Kiel Moe’s work, read Unless: The Seagram Building Construction Ecology (2021)
Why support + read TPJ?
The Plan Journal is intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice.
How does it work + why does it matter?
Prospective contributors are encouraged to submit proposals or complete manuscripts to the Editor-in-Chief. Subject to positive feedback, proposals can then be developed into complete manuscripts and submitted for review, using the dedicated portal on the TPJ website.
After preliminary approval, manuscripts will be forwarded to suitably qualified people for commenting. TPJ is committed to following a rigorous double-blind peer review process using at least two reviewers. The Editor-in-Chief may also occasionally invite recognized academics, critics, or professionals (including members of the editorial board) to contribute to the journal without going through the peer review process, if warranted by the author’s reputation.