Fachbereich Gestaltung

"Size matters for materials"



Animation "Size Matters"



Size with special emphasis on building materials and building products, thus For Materials
Size as in dimensions and size in all its dimensions

Our visual world is dominated by Size / Format.
The tendency towards the modularization of our surroundings is growing.

One could surely maintain that the brick is the first module in Architecture.
“Architecture begins when two bricks are carefully joined together.“ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The brick is one of the most well known and most standardized products in terms of size and its definition as a brick has very little to do with its materiality and everything to do with its dimensions.

The stories related to the practical, technical, historical, cultural and social factors which formed the background for the eventual standardization of certain building products are interesting. What is fascinating however is to discover whether these factors are still relevant today. If not, which should be the deciding factors for today's materials and building systems? Do we realise just how fine our perception is of size and how thoroughly we are conditioned by those we have become accustomed to?

This project explores the following themes with regard to size.

• The physical boundaries imposed by the materials themselves.
• The boundaries imposed by the manufacturing process.
• The common sizes for each Material or Product.
• Perceived goals for globalization or global standardization.
• Cultural, social, Political and historical events & influences.
• Cultural differences and similarities and their influences.
• The relationship of a size with a historical period.
• Can size denote social status?

The students who have participated in this project have been encouraged to not only gather information but to formulate their own conclusions through intelligent and critical analysis. Some students have learned to turn the abilities developed through an architectural education, (such as; synthesis of diverse information, coordination, programme analysis ) into research tools and have made their own real discoveries.

Many of these students have discovered a real passion for their chosen subject and have elected to continue their research independently and with the support of the University of Applied Sciences-Trier. Although my official involvement with the University of Applied Sciences -Trier has ended, the size matters project continues there and we remain in contact.

I have now introduced this research project to the students of Cornell University in New York. This is very exciting because the studies now gain an extra-European dimension and are researched by students of very diverse nationalities, which could yield unexpected results.

We remain interested in collaboration with manufacturers and researchers and would be delighted should any visitors to the website express an interest in involvement.


Michelle Howard




January 10, 2018



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