Material selection is not about choosing the cheapest, strongest, and locally available material. It an art of storytelling, by varying material combinations in a building one can create something entirely different. It’s really important for an architect to understand the property of the material as much as it is important for him/her to understand the proportions or scale. While choosing material whether it is for interior or exterior few things must be kept in mind. One material blends with the other keeping in mind the effect it has on the budget and details. For exterior spaces, the material combination should be in accordance with the climatic conditions. For interior space, the material combination should be considered keeping in mind the texture, aesthetics along with the look and feel of the space. These factors help enhance an architect the User experience. It gets an architect to think about the questions like ‘Will the building feel spartan, imposing or cold, or will it feel luxurious, inviting, and warm? Will the building material’s acoustical properties make it hard to hold a private conversation or reflect so much noise as to make the workplace very distracting and uncomfortable?’
Traditional materials can also be chosen for the spaces. They have many advantages such as keeps the environment footprint low, encourages local craftsmen. For using such material up to its fullest potential they must be combined with the set of materials that complement each other for spaces like luxurious houses.
One more way of selecting the materials is through the design concept; this helps strengthen the concept. It helps in considering the factors like the Physical location due to which you can limit your choices based on the aspects like delivery of the material, availability of the materials near-site and also climatic conditions. It also helps the architect to think about the cultural environment of the place which also makes you think about the type of project you are designing and for who you are designing.
Few points to keep in mind while selecting the materials are:
- Form of the building
- The scale of the material
- Color and texture of the material
- Water tightness and durability
- The cost which also involves lifecycle of the material and maintenance cost
An architect while designing should consider the whole life cycle of the building and should choose the less impactful one for the sake of the environment. Material selection is one of the most important decisions in construction since it used in an enormous amount in any construction site. Materials selection can make a huge difference since the construction site starting from the natural extraction of the material to the production until the final product. Therefore there is a need to select the material in a more conscious way.