Material Witness

Blaine Brownell

Despite its bright cover, high-quality paper, and four-color printing, Transmaterial is not your typical architectural book. Sized and styled more like a travel guide, it places maximum importance on informing readers without a lot of distractions, as can be seen in a typical spread.

Despite its bright cover, high-quality paper, and four-color printing, Transmaterial is not your typical architectural book.

Reinforcing the idea that this is a book to be carried around, thumbed through, marked up, and otherwise used instead of admired, Brownell provides a key to help readers decipher each entry's numerous elements.

Brownell is a blogger, twice over. Transmaterial is his continually updated journal of innovative products (none of which appear in the book).

Transstudio is a more philosophical effort aimed at engaging people in conversation about diminishing natural resources, the man-made world, and how we can effect positive change. As he notes in his first entry, "Design will play a fundamental role in this new epoch, and creativity will be the ultimate criterion for success. Since new problems will require new solutions, we can only preserve the future by letting go of present conventions."

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Ductal WHAT IT IS: Ultra high-performance concrete ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Partially manufactured from recycled industrial byproducts

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Ductal WHAT IT IS: Ultra high-performance concrete ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Partially manufactured from recycled industrial byproducts

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Sphelar WHAT IT IS: Spherical micro solar cells ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Renewable energy source; less embodied energy; fewer materials than conventional photovoltaics

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Sphelar WHAT IT IS: Spherical micro solar cells ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Renewable energy source; less embodied energy; fewer materials than conventional photovoltaics

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Sphelar WHAT IT IS: Spherical micro solar cells ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Renewable energy source; less embodied energy; fewer materials than conventional photovoltaics

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Aluma Floor WHAT IT IS: Aluminum floor tiles and panels ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Made from recycled postindustrial content; fully recyclable

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Aluma Floor WHAT IT IS: Aluminum floor tiles and panels ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Made from recycled postindustrial content; fully recyclable

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Tingwall WHAT IT IS: Leak-free glazing system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Prevents poor indoor air quality related to mold growth

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Tingwall WHAT IT IS: Leak-free glazing system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Prevents poor indoor air quality related to mold growth

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. Some can be used before the first shovel breaks ground. Others, like Panelite, are among the last things to be put in place. PRODUCT: Panelite WHAT IT IS: Insulated glass unit with tubular polycarbonate core ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recyclable components; natural daylighting; efficient use of materials

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. Some can be used before the first shovel breaks ground. Others, like Panelite, are among the last things to be put in place. PRODUCT: Panelite WHAT IT IS: Insulated glass unit with tubular polycarbonate core ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recyclable components; natural daylighting; efficient use of materials

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. Some can be used before the first shovel breaks ground. Others, like Panelite, are among the last things to be put in place. PRODUCT: Panelite WHAT IT IS: Insulated glass unit with tubular polycarbonate core ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recyclable components; natural daylighting; efficient use of materials

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Ecosmart WHAT IT IS: High-volume fly-ash concrete ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions; improves long-term strength and durability; reduces the need to put waste materials in landfills

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Ecosmart WHAT IT IS: High-volume fly-ash concrete ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions; improves long-term strength and durability; reduces the need to put waste materials in landfills

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. = PRODUCT: Terrart WHAT IT IS: Architectural terra cotta façade panels and elements ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Fully recyclable; increases a building's energy efficiency

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Terrart WHAT IT IS: Architectural terra cotta façade panels and elements ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Fully recyclable; increases a building's energy efficiency

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Geometrix WHAT IT IS: Lightweight recycled metal ceramic tiles ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Contains 90 percent recycled content

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Geometrix WHAT IT IS: Lightweight recycled metal ceramic tiles ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Contains 90 percent recycled content

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Durra WHAT IT IS: Lightweight wheat straw and paper construction system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Uses agricultural byproducts and recycled materials; no added chemicals; efficient use of material

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Durra WHAT IT IS: Lightweight wheat straw and paper construction system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Uses agricultural byproducts and recycled materials; no added chemicals; efficient use of material

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: UltraTouch WHAT IT IS: Natural cotton-fiber insulation ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recycled content; no volatile organic compounds or harmful chemicals

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: UltraTouch WHAT IT IS: Natural cotton-fiber insulation ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recycled content; no volatile organic compounds or harmful chemicals

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Syndecrete WHAT IT IS: Recycled-content, precast concrete surfacing material ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recycled carpet fiber, fly ash, and recycled decorative aggregates; no off-gassing

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Syndecrete WHAT IT IS: Recycled-content, precast concrete surfacing material ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recycled carpet fiber, fly ash, and recycled decorative aggregates; no off-gassing

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Syndecrete WHAT IT IS: Recycled-content, precast concrete surfacing material ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Recycled carpet fiber, fly ash, and recycled decorative aggregates; no off-gassing

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Alulight WHAT IT IS: Aluminum foam ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Fully recyclable; efficient use of material

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Alulight WHAT IT IS: Aluminum foam ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Fully recyclable; efficient use of material

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Alulight WHAT IT IS: Aluminum foam ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Fully recyclable; efficient use of material

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Solarwall WHAT IT IS: Solar air panels ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Lowers energy load; reduces fossil-fuel dependency and carbon emissions

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Solarwall WHAT IT IS: Solar air panels ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: Lowers energy load; reduces fossil-fuel dependency and carbon emissions

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Grasspave2 WHAT IT IS: Grass porous paving system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: 100 percent recycled plastic; heat-island and stormwater-runoff mitigation; hydrocarbon filtering; groundwater recharge

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. PRODUCT: Grasspave2 WHAT IT IS: Grass porous paving system ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS: 100 percent recycled plastic; heat-island and stormwater-runoff mitigation; hydrocarbon filtering; groundwater recharge

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. Some, like ERCO Virtual Luminaires, can be used before the first shovel breaks ground. Others are among the last things to be put in place. PRODUCT: ERCO Virtual Luminaires WHAT IT IS: Virtual luminaire models for digital lighting simulation ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Simulation studies may prevent wasted energy from poor lighting solutions

Green and sustainable products come in many forms and exist for every part of a building: inside, outside, and within the ceilings, floors, and walls. Some, like ERCO Virtual Luminaires, can be used before the first shovel breaks ground. Others are among the last things to be put in place. PRODUCT: ERCO Virtual Luminaires WHAT IT IS: Virtual luminaire models for digital lighting simulation ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT: Simulation studies may prevent wasted energy from poor lighting solutions

Aegis Hyposurface: Environmentally responsive architectural surface. Applications: Interactive art, feature wall

Protrude, Flow: Magnetic fluid art. Applications: Exhibits, interactive art

Wood.e: Electrified preformed wood. Application: Furniture

Interactable: Interactive table. Applications: Conference rooms, showrooms, exhibitions

Richlite, the brown panels in the illustration above, was chosen as the cladding for Alley24's housing/retail building, in part because it resists mold so well.

The University Center Office Building incorporates a number of products in its façade.

The University Center Office Building incorporates a number of products in its façade.

The University Center Office Building incorporates a number of products in its façade.

The University Center Office Building incorporates a number of products in its façade, including clear, tinted, and reflective glazing; insulated metal panels; and perforated steel panels. Brownell wants to make use of reused or recycled materials whenever and wherever possible.

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