Mind & Matter


Blaine Brownell


Blaine Brownell's Latest Posts

  • Kapok Tree Fibers Find Use in Microbial Fuel Cells

    Their porous and hollow surface provides ample space for harvesting bacteria.

    Researchers at the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado Boulder discovered that the seed pods and fibers of the tropical tree can be hubs for harvesting key bacteria.

    ARCHITECT November 12, 2014

  • Barlett Architecture Students Fabricate a Bio Skin that Rethinks Structure and Surface

    The wood-reinforced concrete modules welcome a more cohesive bond between structure and cladding.

    These wood-reinforced concrete modules, fabricated by students at University College London's Bartlett School of Architecture, create a more cohesive bond between a building's structure and cladding.

    ARCHITECT November 10, 2014

  • Purdue University Researchers Develop a Highly Conductive Plastic

    The emerging technology could benefit from using eco-friendly bioplastics rather than fossil fuels.

    These radical polymers may lead to inexpensive, transparent solar cells and flexible, lightweight batteries, but the technology could benefit from using eco-friendly bioplastics in its development.

    ARCHITECT November 03, 2014

  • 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


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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