Ming Fung and Marcelo Spina introduce the Materal Beyond Materials Conference and keynote speaker Evan Douglis. Fung reviews the history of fiberglass as an illustration, tracing it from military applications, to furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, to automobiles, and then architecture. Spina speaks about the advent of composite materials and the shift between an assembly of materials and materials as assembly. He frames the conference as an opportunity to investigate the relationship between advanced technology and architectural pedagogy.
Evan Douglis presents a manifesto in which he argues that matter shows elements of self determination and exhibits a range of states and attributes that defy the notion that materials are inert. He speculates that materials will gain intelligence and sentient superiority.
Douglis presents several design projects featuring notable materials and digital fabrication techniques. He discusses a system of modules developed for the “Three Nomadic Structures” exhibit of Jean Prouvé’s work. Douglis presents other projects, stressing fabrication, the processes utilized and strategies explored.
Douglis continues his project presentation with an explanation of the El Tower project which creates a skin that shrouds pavilions when oriented horizontally and becomes a brise soleil when oriented vertically. Douglis concludes with some other material experiments, including blown glass mixed with wiring and coatings.