22 Propositions

2 Know your materials What materials are in this building? Where did they come from? These simple questions are not always easy for designers, clients, consultants, and contractors to answer. Yet, rethinking material use in buildings is predicated on being able to answer such questions. To re-materialize construction, we have to know our materials. And knowing our materials isn’t a very simple matter at all. How was the material produced? Who made it and under what conditions? What byproducts were incidentally made along with it? What happened to those byproducts? How did the material arrive to the site? How long will it last? Will it behave as predicted or as promised? What can be done with it afterwards? … Could I eat it? Knowing materials means asking more questions. This is the first step to understanding business-as-usual, finding alternatives within the present system, and inventing future alternatives. Image source: Maersk, redrawn by Something Fantastic. The shipping company Maersk is developing material passports for its vessels that index the materials in new ships and provide a reference for how they can be disassembled and reused. Maersk argues that doing so will both improve the recycling rate and increase the costs recovered. HIGH GRADE STEEL LOW GRADE STEEL COPPER