About Us

The backbone of the Materials Resource Center is the Materials Library. In contrast to traditional materials libraries found in architectural offices or with fabricators, which rely on samples supplied by local fabricators and are not comprehensive, our Materials Library is wide-ranging in scope and incorporates the newest materials. Our library also filters the broad selection of materials available in publications and online through the consideration of design criteria and an evaluation of sustainability.

In the spirit of reducing excess paper and publication, the Materials Library only procures material samples. It does not house printed publications, product specifications, or binders; instead, each material sample will be cataloged in the database, with the manufacturer or supplier website easily accessible. Students interested in specific product specifications can find them online or request them directly from the manufacturer.

Similarly, only one sample of a material will be cataloged. Students interested in entire color ways or different samples for specific projects must contact the manufacturer directly.

The goals of the Materials Library are:

  • • To provide a digital database of materials that is searchable through intuitive design criteria and evaluated for sustainability, with hands-on, cataloged samples of each material. 
  • • To develop a web-based source for sustainable industry standards, explaining the various certifications in an easy-to-understand comparison.
  • • To develop a web-based resource that showcases both the history and current practice of building technology through the study of precedent and examples of best practice.


One of the most exciting and novel features of the Materials Resource Center is the Materials Library Database, which is currently under development. A thorough review of existing material databases revealed that many databases have exhaustive lists of materials that focus on technical specification, design emphasis, materials science, and sustainability emphasis. Few databases, however, combine different focuses — which is the goal of the Materials Library Database.

We envision our database to be an intuitive, easily searchable design resource. Users will be able to search for a material using basic design characteristics, narrow their search through specific filters – such as sustainable certifications or local materials — and compare similar materials. Users looking for a very specific material will be able to enter data into multiple fields in order to limit their search. All materials included in the database must have a sustainability component; categories will include traditional materials, new materials, and smart materials.