2008 West Fall Conference

October 16-19, 2008 | University of Southern California
Co-chairs:  Gail Peter Borden, University of Southern California and Michael Meredith, Harvard Graduate School of Design


Material is the matter-of-fact of architecture; it is the means of execution, a method of expression, and a major force of resistance. Opposed to paper or cardboard architecture - interested in removing the variable and agency of material, vaunting representation over construction - the architectural discipline today has begun to radically reorient itself towards a renewed relationship with issues of materiality.

Material Matters focuses on the pedagogy of material exploration as the premise for the making of architecture. Beginning with material as a premise for architectural discourse, the conference will revolve around the design decisions and physical making that emerge from material interaction. This conference will confront the conventional concepts behind modern building science and material applications, re-applying typical processes of fabrication and methods of construction while engaging emerging techniques. The evolution of material sensibility demands a fundamental re-thinking, grounded in the analysis and design of material processes: their current applications and limitations.

Material Matters will confront issues of materiality in multiple forms: Design - formal and functional implications of building materials as process applications; Processes - fabrication, technology and making; Context - place and material vernacular; Precedent - case studies in material application and conceptual detailing of design; Theory – conceptual premise of making; Material Detail - piece and connection; Material Ecology & Sustainability; Pedagogy - the role of materiality in design education; Material Art, Media, and History.


Keynote Lecturers

Nader Tehrani, Office dA, Boston
Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, Iwamoto Scott, San Francisco
Tom Wiscombe, EMERGENT, LA
Marcello Spina and Georgina Huljich, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, LA