In search maximizes the possibility that an unforeseen solution

In “From Kaolin to
Kevlar: Emerging Materials for Inventing New Architecture”, Fernandez John
states that

Design has always
involved seeking better solutions to satisfy changing needs, but limiting the assembly
of buildings to the specification of systems impedes the discovery of design
opportunities inherent in materials themselves. Material selection plays an
important role by facilitating an all-inclusive scan of the material world. By
widening the range of selection to an expansive set of materials besides those
used in standardized systems, the search maximizes the possibility that an
unforeseen solution might yield unexpected potential. 1

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This shows the importance of materials in design
buildings. So, how do architectures use materials to affect the mood of people?

            Imaging
how people feel if they live in the busiest city in the world and that their
apartments or their houses are located near train tracks. In this case, their
mood is up to how their buildings are built and with what materials. No one
wants to live in noisy places, and if their buildings are built with
sound-proof materials, this could save them from being depressed. That is just
a simple example of how architectures are designed to affect people’ feeling by
just using materials. In the book Shaping
Earth, Peter St. John writes about “The Feeling of Things: Towards an
Architecture of Emotions”, and he states that “Buildings
have a character drawn from the associations of their form and the materiality
of their fabric… The choice of a building’s construction, its’ material and
it’s structure, has a direct effect on the emotional character of its spaces.”2

According
to two psychologists Stephen Kaplan and Rachel Kaplan, both work at the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, “the tasks of the modern world can
engender mental fatigue, whereas looking out at a natural setting is relatively
effortless and can give the mind a much needed rest.”3 This
leads back to the three projects of the 2017 Chicago
Architecture Biennial (CAB) where traditional building materials, natural
building materials, and new materials are used by contemporary architects. The
first project to be mentioned here is Robotic
Craftsmanship: Making New History with Traditional Materials by Archi-Union
Architects in 2016 with the use of bamboo. Bamboo, one of the oldest materials
used in construction, is an incredibly flexible, strong, and super sustainable
material which can be used in many ways. Based on the website Earth and Bamboo
Architecture, it states that “Unlike steel it is not a heat conductor but a
great insulator which means roofs made of bamboo automatically create a cool
interior”, and “because of its great feel and good looks it creates a warm room
feeling without much effort.”4 Here in the project, a material that
belongs to nature is used to create a space that provides a cool interior, also
creates a warm feeling to its occupants. Next, the second project is Metropolitana created by Piovenefabi (Ambra Fabi, Giovanna Silva)
in 2017. They state that “new materials were tested for the occasion, such as
the Silipol, a colorful stained concrete, or the Pirelli black rubber floor,
which later became a mainstream flooring choice”5 where “The
subway finishes were ‘designed searching for the standardization of materials,
to achieve a certain repeatability.'”6 Concrete, the most widely
used material in buildings, is combined with colors to create something new,
something more interesting for the old subway. By achieving the certain
repeatability, visitors can experience the feeling of endlessness and
excitingly explore the subway through its colorful appearance. The interior of
the architecture influences the inside of the mind because the blue, according
to scientists, “carried a completely different
set of psychological benefits”, and “people automatically associate red
with danger, which makes them more alert and aware, for example.”7
Another project is Micro Hutong, created
by ZAO/standardarchitecture (2013-2016). The project is a micro hostel, and the
materials used for rooms are concrete mixed with ink, wooden flooring, and
timber framework for windows. This brings a totally new experiment to China, an
overcrowding country where life in the city isn’t always relaxing. The
creativity of mixing ink with concrete is the answer to the question of what
the mood the architects want the space to evoke. A familiar feeling of a
traditional material as ink combines with a modern feeling of new material as
concrete successfully provide a space where people want to stay and relax. This
answer the question of how the feelings differ.

How does the use of
materials relate to other elements of contemporary architectures? In the book Material
Architecture written by John Fernandez says that

Using
contemporary materials in the best possible ways involves technical
understanding and design invention. It is reasonable to suppose that enhancing
the knowledge of materials, traditional and novel, will improve the ability of
designers to better respond to contemporary needs and produce a more humane built
environment that also serves the contemporary imagination. Today, improving the
environment requires a reconsideration of the contribution of new materials in
this process. One such issue is the relationship between the production and
consumption of materials and the service lifetimes of buildings.

For example, natural wood and stone with
neutral palette could be used in a bank to create a sense of wealth, friendliness,
and honestly. Bright, and colorful materials can be used in class instead of
hard walls, ceiling, and flooring to avoid kids from being frustrated and
create a happy place for children to learn new things.

            Alain de Botton, a Swiss-born British writer,
modern-day philosopher, and author of international bestseller “The
Architecture of Happiness”, believes “there is more to buildings and
architecture than we may think.”8 He told CNN “he felt that a
beautiful building, or likewise, an ugly structure, could affect how we feel.”9
There are many projects which brings happiness, relaxing to people such as PARKROYAL
on Pickering located in Singapore, designed by WOHA in 2013. This is a hotel with
extremely beautiful sky garden. The building is a combination of glass,
concrete, wood, mirror, plants which create a building-as-garden. There is no
need to ask how people feel when living in a place where there is a huge sky garden,
and rooms are covered with wooden furniture, looking out through windows where
there is blue sky and full of sunlight. Another project is 48 North Canal Road
located in Singapore, designed by WOHA in 2012. This project is an elegant
office built with a combination of brick veneer, glass, aluminum, and plants.
The eye-catching design with the green look brings a peaceful and relaxing
feeling to those who work there and for those who visit there. Finally, Tree
Snake Houses by Luís Rebelo de Andrade in Portugal since 2012 is also a project
that could affect how visitors feel. This project is a snake-shaped tree house
built with native material like slate and wood for finishes which helps the
building integrates with surroundings, and keeps occupants close to nature. “The impact architecture has on a
person’s mood is huge. Arguably these are the fundamentals of architecture: not
how it looks, but how we feel it, through the way it allows us to act, behave,
think and reflect,” says Dr. Melanie Dodd, programme director of spatial
practices at the Central St Martins art school.10