6 Building Materials Every Architect Should Know

6 Building Materials Every Architect Should Know

The real estate market is always changing, and recent trends encourage architects to use diverse materials in order to meet local needs. That means that it is vital for every architect to familiarize themselves with many different options, including some that are still fairly rare.


Earth buildings have been in use since the earliest part of human history, but earhtbag construction is fairly new. The builders take slightly moist soil and put it in a sack before tamping it down. Those sacks are laid like bricks with barbed wire to help hold them together, and the entire structure is plastered.

This material is cheap, fireproof, and has high thermal mass. That makes it an ideal choice for people who want to save money through energy efficiency. It is also easy to use, and is thus popular with people who build their own home.


Adobe is a classic building technique that uses the earth to make sturdy bricks. It offers incredible durability and fairly low prices, along with the same level of thermal mass as earthbags. Building codes exist for these structures in many areas, which makes it one of the most convenient options for green building.


Concrete is a popular choice for people who want to maximize the durability of their structure. In addition to being sturdy and economical, it can be molded into almost any shape fairly cheaply, which makes it a component in many large structures. That widespread use ensures that almost every architect will use it, regardless of their specialty.


Wood is a fairly versatile choice. It offers excellent aesthetics, a decent level of natural insulation, and a surprising degree of resistance to earthquakes when it is used properly. Construction projects that use wood also tend to go much more quickly than those that use other materials because the workers do not need to wait for the wood to cure. These factors make it a good choice for residential structures.


Steel is most often used in prefabricated structures, but it does play a role in conventional building projects as well. It is easy to install and resists mold, but it does need protection from rust and corrosion. It can also be recycled once the building outlives its usefulness. That makes it valuable for workshops and other outbuildings that go with a larger house.

Straw Bales

Straw can be used as a building material when it is bound in tight bales. The workers can stack the bales and cover them with a protective material. The outer layer is vital, because straw can rot if it gets wet. This is a cheap and highly efficient options, so it is good for green building on a budget.

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