Blaine Brownell: Transmaterial 2


Blaine Brownell is an architect geeked off new + emerging materials. His interest in the study of these new materials stems from his self described lack of knowledge of materials outside of an architect’s standard palette [wood, metal, glass, etc] – which pushed him to investigate the various options that designers have – and will have – in the near future. This led to a weekly newsletter [subscribe here – it’s great] featuring a different material each week, delivered to your in-box.

Somewhere along the way, after amassing a collection of new + innovative materials, Blaine was given the opportunity to compile a number of his favorites [something like 200 materials] into a catalog/book entitled Transmaterial – published by Princeton Architectural Press [see inside the book, thanks to google, here]. Now, roughly two years later, Brownell has published a second book continuing the Transmaterial series – Transmaterial 2.
Brownell’s books are truly an incredible collection of materials and products – categorized by material type [concrete, mineral, metal, wood, glass, fabric, digital, etc], and organized further by material characteristics [ultraperforming, multidimensional, repurposed, recombinant, intelligent, transformational, and interfacial]. Each page of the book is dedicated to a different material, and contains the name, number [an ID number based on the MasterFormat material classification system, which coincides with the Materials Monthly program from PAPress [reviewed here on MNP] – to which Blaine is a contributor], a brief description of the product, the category and type, and additional information long with contact details for the designer/manufacturer. Basically, the collection of materials provides designers with a variety of new possibilities by whetting our appetites and telling us where we can find more info.

Beyond an updated collection of new materials, Transmaterial 2 differs from Transmaterial in that it has a much ‘greener’ feel – featuring everything from low impact, ‘environmentally friendly’ materials to biomimetic ones. For instance – Activ [page 135] is a glazing system by Pilkington [a name many architects + designers are familiar with] that uses the power of the sun to clean itself. Manufactured from the same pyrolytic technology used to make photovoltaic solar-cells, the system loosens dirt and breaks down organic compounds using nothing but energy from the sun. Another featured material is TX Active [page 26] – a similar product, but this time cement rather than glass. This photocatalytic product actually CLEANS THE AIR, using titanium dioxide as the active ingredient to reduce concentrations of airborne pollutants. Want more? How about Reben [page 159], all natural air-cleaning paint? Or Intelligent Bioplastic [page 102] – recyclable biopolymers that are able to ‘remember’ shapes?

Blaine’s Transmaterial 2 is full of these incredible new [some world changing] materials, some of which could help you on your current or upcoming projects [anything + everything from home-improvement to architectural design to construction] – all of which will inspire you to carefully consider and investigate the products and materials you use from here on out.

::MNP thanks to PAPress for generously providing review copies of Transmaterial + Transmaterial 2. If you’re interested in more information about innovative materials you can subscribe to Blaine Brownell’s weekly newsletter – and check out Materials Monthly from PAPress [click the ad at the upper right of ArchitectureMNP]::

Posted: March 8th, 2008
at 6:30pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,books,tech,featured ninjas

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'Blaine Brownell: Transmaterial 2'

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  1. I bought Transmaterial 1 after looking at it for about 3 seconds in the bookstore. I knew i had to have it because of the information it collected and then cataloged for easy reference. It has a permanent spot on my desk at home (the office isnt progressive enough for most of these materials). This book is a must have for anyone in the architecture community.

    Jeremy J

    10 Mar 08 at 12:02 pm


  2. Well said, I totally agree.

    [Was that Jamil?]


    11 Mar 08 at 2:52 pm


  3. John Redding

    15 May 09 at 5:34 pm



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