Material World

The exhibition 'Material World' in The Danish Architecture Centre showed how new ways of using materials give the architecture new structures, expressions, and experiences. There were a hundred different materials in this exhibition, divided into five categories: strong, lightweight, green, smart and transparent.

Exhibition Period 30 March 2012 - 5 June 2012

Throughout history, we humans have experienced and described how our reality has both a psychological, mental dimension and a physical, material one: Ideas, notions, religions and feelings have been contrasted with concrete buildings and objects. In this manner, materiality has been regarded as the opposite of spirituality.

To a great extent, the history of architecture is the history of how human imagination and ideas have shaped various materials and put them together in ways that have made buildings and even entire cities in the image of man - in other words, how these ideas have acquired material form.

Our ability to constantly use existing materials in new ways while constantly creating brand new ones has been essential to the way architecture has changed its form, expression and style over the centuries. For instance, it was the invention of a new kind of structural steel that made it possible to build the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the world's first skyscrapers in the USA at the end of the 19th century, just as it was the development of pre-fabricated concrete elements that ensured the rapid construction of millions of houses and flats in post-war Europe after 1945. In this manner, the development of materials has always helped overcome the challenges that humans face.

Today, advanced material research and development has become a complex branch of science focusing on financial, resource-related and environmental sustainability. Self-cleaning glass on the façades of buildings 500-metres tall saves human lives as well as money.

Hollow plastic balls in concrete elements cut concrete consumption as well as transport costs. And new kinds of insulation saves billions on the world's energy bill thereby reducing CO2 emissions globally.





Strong, lightweight, green, smart and transparent materials
The Material World exhibition showed how the work on and development of materials contribute to the sustainability of the construction industry as well as to new architectural structures, expressions and experiences. There were a hundred different materials in this exhibition, divided into five categories: strong, lightweight, green, smart and transparent. Using a selection of Danish and international buildings, we showed how 12 of the materials presented have been crucial to the architecture of these structures.



Check out the e-catalogue "From Materials to New Architecture" from 3XN



These materials may be experienced in life-sized construction segments as well as on the presentation tables where you can look, touch and examine the world of materials and explore their qualities and properties.

Material World has been developed by the Danish Architecture Centre in collaboration with the GXN Innovation Unit of Danish architectural firm 3XN. Furthermore, we have had help from a number of strategic partners, and Danish and international material manufacturers have kindly provided us with mock-ups and samples.

The exhibition was supported by Realdania.

Material World has been developed, curated and produced by the Danish Architecture Centre in collaboration with GXN - the Innovation Unit  of the Danish Architectural firm 3XN.

The exhibition catalogue was sponsored by the Bergia Foundation and Dreyer's Foundation.

Last updated Tuesday, July 25, 2017