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?
Maurizio Sabini, Editor-in-Chief of The Plan Journal
We share some intriguing thoughts about some unusual materials. In the article “Reading (Hidden) Dialogue of Organic Tectonics,” the authors Resza Riskiyanto, Yandi Andri Yatmo and Paramita Atmodiwirjo ask if there is “potential of organic material to conceptualize new means of future tectonic beyond the duality of construction technology and representation through a case study of indigenous craft making”? In the article “Salt as a Building Material: Current Status and Future Opportunities,” the authors Vesna Pungercar and Florian Musso ask: “What if the use of salt as a building material could “increase resource efficiency while reducing the salt contamination of flora and fauna”?
Finally, we consider waste as a material resource.
The Plan Journal looks at design some unlikely materials.
Various types of banana leaf wraps.
In the article “Reading (Hidden) Dialogue of Organic Tectonics,” the authors Resza Riskiyanto, Yandi Andri Yatmo and Paramita Atmodiwirjo “propose the understanding of organic tectonic practice as the dynamic action among the human body, spaces, surface, materials, structural systems, and construction. This idea is demonstrated through the tectonic exploration of banana leaves wrapping practices.”
The critical part of banana leaf wraps.
Riskiyanto et al. explain that “the exploration of organic tectonics in this article presents a belief in the importance of preserving such knowledge to contribute to an alternative in the search for good materials for contemporary design practice.”
>> Check out the abstract here.
In the article “Salt as a Building Material: Current Status and Future Opportunities,” the authors Vesna Pungercar and Florian Musso investigate how raw salt, composite salt, and processed salt “have been used in history and analyzed in scientific studies, to investigate their physical and mechanical properties, and to identify the most promising applications in the construction field.”
Pungercar and Musso suggest that “in general, using salt waste is a promising solution for reducing the dependence on conventional materials such as gypsum or cement, creating healthier indoor environments, and reducing pollution.”
>> Check out the article here.
In the October 2021 issue of Architectural Record, the article entitled “Milan’s Furniture Fair is Pared-Down and Revamped” explains that sustainability was one of the themes of the event. There was a wide variety of materials displayed including woven textiles made from palm fibers. We were also impressed by the installation in the CArrelé tile collection of Nature Squared’s vibrant tiles presented by Rossana Orlandi gallery that were made from eggshell food waste! The idea of recycling waste holds many unexplored possibilities for innovative building materials.
“Unbound: The Library of Lost Books” (Barcelona, 2014) was a temporary pavilion of three “trees” with canopies made from obsolete city library books designated for destruction. Repurposing the books as foliage, the pavilion served as a place for reflection, rest, and a chance to re-think old constructs. The “trees” were later removed and re-assembled and found new life at a nearby public school where they remain to this day. Photo by © Javier Callejas.
In “The Good Material” issue of TPJ, Anupama Kundoo also proposes in her position paper “Human Time as a Resource. Twelve Strategies for Re-thinking Urban Materiality,” that “Trash is Unimagined Treasure.” Kundoo writes:
Resource wastage in modern economies is a crisis that offers a substantial opportunity for re-thinking both how we design and how we use and maintain our buildings.
Old books and newspapers, glass bottles, and car tyres are examples of unconventional materials that can occasionally be repurposed as building materials or even formwork.
>> Learn more
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.