Architecture Degree Programme at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning

The Faculty of Architecture / Architecture (English taught)
4th Year, sem 2, 2023-2024

ST-99E | Contemporary Materials

Optional Course | Hours/Week: 2C | ECTS Credits: 2

Course Leader:
lect.dr.arh. Laura Dobrescu
Teaching language:


Learning outcomes:

Building materials – either traditional or modern, eco-friendly/natural or artificial– due to their diversity, role and function, evolve by transforming, closely connected to the human society (educational level) but also to nature (pollution and/or protection).
The class propose to debate on some subjects related to usage of traditional building materials versus to the nowadays tendencies to replace or/and gradually improve of technologies or materials. Our purpose will be to make students understand/discover the advantages and/or disadvantages of using these.
The class named Nowadays building materials aims that students acquire the following values and attitudes:
- to apply the enforced standards on products and services quality;
- to stimulate the curiosity for investigating some phenomena and processes concerning traditional building materials but also the modern, contemporary, advanced or smart ones;
- to be interested in enhancing the technical vocabulary correct acquisition, (by knowing the main traditional and modern building material groups);
- to know the material categories currently used on any building site and also the modern products used in architecture, building and finishing (eco –friendly, composite, durable, advanced, smart);
- to develop scientific knowledge regarding new materials with superior properties (mechanic, chemical, electrical, optic and magnetic) compared to the classical ones.
- to develop the students’ ability to use the acquired knowledge about material characteristics.
The study results consist in adding to the previously acquired knowledge the new ones referring to a series of building materials characterized by performance, modernity, eco-friendship, "advanced" and "intelligent".


- General introduction about building materials. New/Contemporary technologies and materials used for building, architecture and finishing. Classification of the contemporary building materials based on their nature, their physical and mechanical properties and specific measuring units. Examples of contemporary building materials sage;
- Traditional materials versus contemporary materials – Material evolution, from traditional to present days. Comparing, describing and explaining elements regarding their behaviour in time.
- Transmaterials - Concept, definition, structure, classification, phenomena, properties and applications.
- Composite materials – Classification. Advantages of their usage, costs, technologies. Materials properties.
- „Eco-friendly” materials – ecological materials – Understanding the growth phenomenon in the construction industry, understanding the necessities that depend on the renewable resources. Description of the product types designed to reduce as much as possible the impact on the environment. Resources and ecological material source.
- Long lasting materials – Significance and impact of durable building materials. Concepts and criteria in analysing the material life cycle and efficient technologies.
- “Smart Materials”. Application of smart materials.
- Shape memory materials – Definition of smart materials, identification of their functions and application of shape memory materials.
- Nano-materials – Concept, definition, structure, classification, phenomena, properties and applications. Nano-particles, nano-wires, monofilaments, nano-pipes, movies.
- Recyclable materials – principles, explanations and presentation of eco friendly recycling methods, smartly managed.
- Materials that resists to different elements - High temperature, mechanic, corrosion and radiation resistant materials.

Teaching Method:

- Theoretical lectures accompanied by illustrative materials, in digital format;
- Lectures held by specialists in building materials;
- Heuristic conversation; Dialogues with comparative analysis;
- Didactic demo and observation;
- Material and product sample presentation together with their analysis


The assessment shall cumulate:
- activity during the learning process – including attendance and complying with projects or some practical applications set by both parties during the class and delivery of a final portfolio - 40%
- oral (public) presentation of a portfolio subject - 60% (minimum 5)


Books, articles, magazines and publications focusing on presenting various building materials; Producer technical lists with building materials;
A bibliography adapted to each theme shall be recommended for the portfolio.

Addington, Michelle; Schodek, Daniel L.: Smart materials and new technologies: for the architecture and design professions, Publisher: Architectural Press, 2005.
Ashby, M. F.; Ferreira, Paulo J. S. G.; Schodek, Daniel L.: Nanomaterials, Nanotechnologies and Design: An Introduction for Engineers and Architects, Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann,2009.
Brownell, Blaine: Transmaterial, Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.
Brownell, Blaine: Transmaterial 2, Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008.
Bujoreanu L.Gh.: Materiale Inteligente, Publisher: Junimea, Iasi, 2002.
Fernández, John: Material Architecture: Emergent Materials for Innovative Buildings and Ecological Construction, Publisher: Taylor & Francis, 2006
Hardt, Dorian: Materiale pentru construcții si finisaje, Publisher: UAUIM, 1996
Ispas, St.: Materiale Compozite , Publisher: ETP, Bucuresti, 1987.
Popescu, Nicolae; Batalu, Dan: Introducere în știința materialelor, Elemente de teoria Științei Materialelor, Publisher: Politehnica Press, 2000.
Ritter, Axel: Smart Materials in Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, Publisher: Birkhäuser Architecture, 2002.
Sauer, Christiane: Made of --: new materials sourcebook for architecture and design, Publisher: Gestalten, 2010.
Schwart, Mel: Encyclopedia of smart materials, Vol 1,2, Publisher: Wiley-Interscience, 2001.
Șensan, Senem Özgönül: Smart Materials and Sustainability: Application of Smart Materials in Sustainable Architecture, Publisher: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010.