Basic Materials Definitions
Further Reading on Materials
Here is a couple of resources that challenge the way we think about materials: the first resource is a catalogue the Belgian studio ‘Rotor’ made for the usus/usures exhibition; the group questions architecture’s fixation to formal language and reintroduces wear and tear as a material property worth looking into deeper. The second resource departs from a rather revolutionary idea: what if materials had the same rights as humans do?
usus/usures | État des lieux – How things stand
Rotor/Tristan Boniver, Lionel Devlieger, Michael Ghyoot, Maarten Gielen, Benjamin Lasserre, Melanie Tamm & Ariane d’Hoop & Benedikte Zitouni
Use leaves traces, alters surfaces, and modifies space. Places wear. Why should we deny this? Why fight such a common phenomenon? Isn’t it worthwhile to take on use and wear in architecture? Rotor carried out multidisciplinary research in order to tackle these questions. They interrogated the relationship between people and their environment by focussing on the inevitable transformation of materials by users. The stakes for architecture are aesthetic, economic, environmental, and social. In a word, they are political, for they emerge from a process that is multifaceted and has many contributors. Rotor’s non-judgmental approach to the phenomenon of wear reveals this political complexity and points to the role of users in the design venture. At the prestigious 12th Architecture Biennial of Venice, the French Community of Wallonia-Brussels wishes to emphasize that architecture is more than just a matter of construction or formal language. It is essentially a response to a need, a way of involving people in their connection to the world, a means to foster relationships with others. Architecture is therefore a cultural discipline in the widest and most noble sense: it furnishes original food for thought on our complex lives. Wear humanizes architecture and brings it to life.
The Universal Declaration of Materials Rights
People obviously have rights. But what rights do the materials have that make our lives possible? Nothing has ever been laid down on that subject. As a consequence, any approach towards materials seems to be permitted, even at the expense of materials that enable our very existence. At Turntoo we want to take that matter in hand, and you can help us make a difference.
If we, mankind, would treat materials in a just manner, similar to the manner in which people should be treated, we would create a world with a future. That is why we took the initiative to draw up the Universal Declaration of Material Rights. Here you can download the declaration, share it for purposes of inspiration and debate, and sign our petition in order to enable us to submit our declaration to the United Nations.