Materials Resource Center

Photo by Stan Strembicki.

The informed use of materials is a driving force in architectural design, art, and engineering. An understanding of technology, innovation, and resolution of detail is central to the inspired use of these materials. The purpose of the Materials Resource Center is to present a unique resource for Washington University students, faculty, and alumni by providing a centralized location for material samples and digital databases. Located in Givens Hall, the center will be a resource for art and architecture design studios, engineering and technology courses, and research as well as architecture and art history course work. It is envisioned as a living, changing, dynamic source for information and research, as well as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary collaboration and experimentation.

The goals of the Materials Resource Center are:

  1. To introduce students to the capabilities and realities of materials providing an integral piece to the design process, focusing upon both the newest materials and traditional techniques, all evaluated through the lens of sustainability
  2. To organize lectures by researchers, architects, artists, engineers and historians on the application of materials
  3. To provide tours of installations of new materials and advanced building technology in the local region. 
  4. To provide a resource for faculty in the development of cross-disciplinary coursework and research involving materials, as well as a resource for master classes
  5. To develop ties with the professional community and provide opportunities for courses/groups to visit exemplary implementations of new and sustainable materials.

The Materials Resource Center offers a wide variety of resources and programming. Learn more about:

Materials Library & Database
Sustainability Certifications

If you have questions about the Materials Resource Center, contact lecturer Hannah Roth at

Roth co-authored an article about higher standards for sustainable building materials that appeared in the February 2012 issue of Nature Climate Change. To download a pdf version of the article, which begins at the bottom of page 1, click here.