The Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA) MatLab will be an industry leading resource within the school of architecture, helping to build links between students, the university, local, national and international industrial partners, and alumni within practice. Government has set targets for significant reductions to the building industries carbon footprint by 2020. We are developing a resource that helps architecture students understand the nature of the materials that they will specify and use within the built environment.  Looking at other resources around the country, the materials library is an increasingly important resource that helps students and professionals alike to understand how materials are processed from source to site and how this impacts on the carbon footprint of the building industry. 

MatLab comprises the following key elements:

·       The physical MatLab;  This is a room in the Arts Tower in which a range of families of materials are exhibited, so that students may handle the actual products to better understand issues such as durability, weight, texture, appropriateness of use, etc.  Each material family display features an information panel that explains manufacturing processes, historical uses, sustainability issues and links to trade organisations.   

·       The online catalogue; which will document all of the materials in the library.  Each material will be tagged with a QR code that links to an online resource connecting to manufacturers, trade organisations, and case studies showing the material in use.  It is also intended to provide the material name in a number of languages, making it accessible to international students.

·       Online case studies; of buildings completed by SSoA staff and alumni, documenting key design moves, sustainable criteria, and detailed technical information around the use of materials in the projects presented.

·       Links and digital resources; provided via a blog that picks up new materials and research from around the world, and providing links to a number of industry partners who are keen to work with the department to offer factory visits and other learning opportunities for the students.

The above strands are designed to make complex but important materials open and accessible to students from the first year to the last year of the school.

MatLab at the Sheffield School of Architecture, The University of Sheffield is located on floor 16 of the Arts Tower. The Facilities are accessible for all staff and students in the School of Architecture.
Sheffield School of Architecture
The University of Sheffield
Arts Tower, Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN, UK


MatLab at SSoA is managed by Howard Evans with assistance from Matthew Bradshaw and Aidan Hoggard