Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering

MARCH 30 — APRIL 1, 2011

Plastics are becoming the most ubiquitous and increasingly permanent materials in construction. The material capabilities of plastics both as a generic material nomenclature and as the specific aspects of specific polymers and the processes that underlie them suggest a potential to reshape construction and the roles of architects and engineers in construction. While plastics are perhaps the most deeply engineered building materials today, they are still in their nascent stages of understanding in terms of their potential applications and uses. Permanent Change sheds new light on these materials and their implications for the fields of architecture and engineering. Materials that forecast easily molded, reformed shapes have become a permanent measure and control point in design.

Bringing together a wide range of leading architects, engineers and scholars, the Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials is a multi-year project to explore the dramatically changing limits of known and new materials. In an era of rapid urbanization and within unprecedented forms of technical measurement, coordination and production the boundaries of professions and of materials are increasingly blurred. Do contemporary means of structural and material analysis suggest a way of modeling material attributes such that analysis itself might produce a new material and new practices? Do new techniques create a virtual strain or quasi-alloy, leading to a new realm of coordinated material action and conceptual action?

This conference on plastics is the fourth in a series of conferences on architecture, engineering and materials. The conference explores the boundaries between architecture, engineering and materials science by mobilizing symposia, studios, exhibitions, books and films in an intensely focused investigation. How is a new generation of professionals and manufacturers fusing engineering and architectural practices, and how do new materials and material concepts change our professions?

— Michael Bell, Professor, Chair,
Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials

The conference will be accompanied by installations designed by Rosana Rubio-Hernandez and Yoshiko Sato.
On display in Avery Hall.

Convened by:
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,
Columbia University in the City of New York
Mark Wigley, Dean

In Collaboration with:
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Fenioski Peña-Mora, Dean

Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany
Werner Sobek, Founder

Permanent Change has been generously underwritten by the exclusive sponsor:
The Vinyl Institute

Exclusive media sponsor:
The Architect’s Newspaper

Download the Permanent Change Save the Date

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