In the recently concluded workshop “Materiality 2.0” of XJTLU Department of Architecture, 21 students get to experience real materials and produce various cubical models within four days.


The workshop is an exploration about the importance of materials in architecture, according to Dr Juan Carlos Dall’Asta, one of the tutors.

“Many students now work in a virtual environment with a computer, so the process of thinking by doing in this workshop is essential for them,” he says.

“The workshop has one important goal, which is to learn and observe the density and quality of the materials,” says Dr Roberto Podda, another tutor, “this is a new experience for the students, because when you touch the actual material, there will be a chemical reaction, and this is when the students can create.”

“The cubes that the students create can be considered as a mental space, and it’s vital for architecture students to understand and control the space,” he says.

There are three materials used in the workshop: concrete, wood and acrylic. The use of acrylic is a change from last year’s Materiality 1.0 workshop which used metal, says John Latto, another tutor.

“The acrylic allows the students to explore light in a different way due to its transparency,” Latto says, “light is actually another main material that we use.”


In this workshop, the students also produce photos and videos for their own project to deliver the ideas in a more powerful and eminent way. “The photos can be zoomed so as to reveal the texture of the models, and the videos are dynamic for showing how the light and shadow are flowing and changing,” says Dall’Asta.


The Department of Architecture is also hoping to extend the workshop to other departments in Design School, including Civil Engineering, Industrial Design and Urban Planning and Design. “All these disciplines work with materials but view materials from different perspectives,” says Latto.

By Yi Qian

Photos by Yi Qian

Images and video provided by Department of Architecture

Tagged as: Built Environment

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