Mind & Matter


Blaine Brownell


Blaine Brownell's Latest Posts

  • A Thermal Upgrade for Glass Envelopes

    Researchers are exploring the use of silica aerogel in insulated glass window units.

    Researchers in Norway are developing silica aerogel, an ultra-light and low-conductivity material, for use in insulated glass window units.

    ARCHITECT July 31, 2014

  • Researchers Develop Steel That Can Bend Like Bamboo

    Variations in grain size and density strengthen steel while making it more ductile.

    By modifying steel's granular structure to reflect that of the natural building material, researchers in the U.S. and China were able to improve its mechanical performance under stress.

    ARCHITECT July 29, 2014

  • This 3D Printer Extrudes Carbon Fiber and Kevlar

    The ability to print continuous strands of carbon fiber yields durable models.

    Startup MarkForged's first product is a 3D printer that extrudes continuous carbon fiber and other resilient materials to create objects with high strength-to-weight ratios.

    ARCHITECT July 24, 2014

  • Hard Science Gives Rise to Soft Machines

    Liquid metals embedded in elastic create a stretchable, sensory material.

    Purdue University researchers have developed a technique to produce sensory and stretchable "soft machines" for use in consumer electronics and robotics.

    ARCHITECT July 22, 2014

  • Herzog & de Meuron Shapes A Processing Plant with Rammed Earth

    Rammed earth gets a design-savvy redux in Ricola's newest facility.

    Known for its innovative uses of materials, the Switzerland-based firm finds a contemporary application for one of the world's oldest construction materials.

    ARCHITECT July 17, 2014

  • Microalgae Prints are Nature's Smart Textiles

    The saturated hues of patterns printed using the photo-sensitive organic material change over time.

    A German studio channels nature with an analog textile printing process that uses microalgae to color its patterns in saturated, photo-sensitive hues.

    ARCHITECT July 15, 2014


About the Author

Blaine Brownell

Blaine Brownell

Architect and materials researcher Blaine Brownell, AIA, is the author of the three Transmaterial books (2006, 2008, 2010), which provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century, high-tech Grammar of Ornament. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, Blaine researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.



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