This is an exciting and stimulating book which is both an enjoyable read and a detailed and accurate work of reference!

Admittedly when I was studying, the subject of materials science was desperately boring, consisting purely and simply of learning dry vocabulary and without arousing any enthusiasm or inspiration for the feel or design of the materials. The textbook itself, too, was so dull that having completed our examinations at the end we felt as if we had escaped from a long, dark tunnel. If only we had had a book like 'Materiology'! To judge from the heartfelt sighs in the foreword the authors must have had the same experience, and in response they have compiled exactly the kind of materials science textbook which architects, designers and students have been longing for.


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In spite of its wealth of information the book is divided into 4 clear categories. The first category is the "Materials family", i.e. wood, paper and cardboard, leather and hide, metals, glass, ceramics, plastics, composite materials, textiles, stone, concrete and – unusually but very logically - light.

In the "Materials catalogue" category there are descriptions of 111 materials arranged in alphabetical order, ranging from acrylonitrile butadien styrene and aerogels through bronze, bamboo, cast basalt and fibre concrete via honeycomb materials, tin, tortoise shell, pot metal and solid surfaces right down to zinc.

Category 3 covers "Production and processing", with the main focus on the 3 questions of "What material do you use?", "What quantity of parts do you wish to make?" and "What geometry are these parts to have?" – in other words on the clarity and orientation of the design.

The fourth category is entitled "Well thought through". This invitation to think seriously about materials and technology is prompted by a few short but meaningful essays on topics such as "The problem of excess supply", "Death to the natural – long live the artificial" or "Incomprehensible matter - De Rerum Materia - Materia Bordela - Materium & Co".

In conclusion, this is an exciting and stimulating book which is both an enjoyable read and a detailed and accurate work of reference!

Authors: Daniel Kula and Elodie Ternaux
342 pages, 200 illustrations
Format 20,4 x 30,0 cm, bound
Publisher: Birkhäuser Verlag Basel Boston Berlin in cooperation with Frame Publishers Amsterdam 2009
Publisher's recommended price: 79,90 EUR
Language: German
ISBN: 978-3-7643-8423-4

The book is also available in English, French and Dutch.