Mind & Matter


Blaine Brownell


Blaine Brownell's Latest Posts

  • Violins and Leaves: A Case for the Quantitative Study of Form

    A biologist compares the evolution of violin shapes with that of leaves.

    A biologist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St. Louis, studied the shape and functionality of more than 9,000 violins crafted over four centuries, finding their evolution similar to that of biological entities like leaves and with the potential to influence the design of the built environment.

    ARCHITECT October 29, 2014

  • Researchers at the Ohio State University Develop a Solar-Powered Battery

    A titanium-mesh solar panel allows air to enter the battery.

    The hybrid device can store nearly all of the power it harnesses thanks to a direct connection between its mesh solar cell and lithium-ion battery.

    ARCHITECT October 27, 2014

  • Tikal, Guatemala: Where Ancient History Continues to Reveal Its Secrets

    The centuries-old Maya metropolis continues to surprise.

    Columnist Blaine Brownell visits the great plaza in Tikal National Park, where ongoing archaeological research is evolving contemporary understanding of the Maya civilization.

    ARCHITECT October 22, 2014

  • Efraín Recinos' Teatro Nacional and the Search for Cultural Expression

    The cultural project represents contemporary architecture that celebrates its local context.

    The 1978 civic project in Guatemala City is an example of architecture whose forms reflect and celebrate local history.

    ARCHITECT October 20, 2014

  • University of Alabama Researchers Electrify Cotton and Wool

    The process of strengthening the natural fibers makes them suitable for use as conductors in smart textiles.

    A newly patented method of strengthening natural fibers opens up new materials as electrical conductors in smart textiles.

    ARCHITECT October 15, 2014

  • In Denmark, Researchers Clean Water with Recycled Concrete

    Gabions filled with crushed concrete could reverse the effects of fertilizer runoff on water bodies.

    Passing water through a filter of crushed concrete removes excess phosphorus and prevents the growth of unwanted plant life and algae, say researchers at the University of Southern Denmark.

    ARCHITECT October 13, 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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