How I Store Architectural Materials

How I Store Architectural Materials

Hey, Eric here with 30 by 40 Design Workshop. Last week’s video was all about architectural
building materials; how to go about choosing them. This week is the companion video to that with
all of the resources. Now I want to talk about three things today:
first I want to talk about how I’ve been storing materials here in the studio; what I’ve done
in the past and what I’m doing now. I want to show you how you can begin building
your architectural sample library, and I also want to share with you all of the print video
and online resources I’ve compiled to help you select materials. So let’s get into it. Now, we’re all limited by the amount of space
we have available to store things and material samples especially can take up a lot of room. Now I’ve seen just about every type of storage
rack used in offices where I’ve worked in the past and I’ve tried a number of different
things myself here in the studio: from metro shelves to archival folios, wood, felt, cardboard
boxes, IKEA bookcases. Here’s the problem with all of these: they
all keep the materials out of reach and mostly out of sight. So they’re great from an organizational standpoint
but because they play such a large role in my design process I wanted them to be a more
integral part of the studio. More accessible. So, here’s what I’ve come up with: it’s
a bun pan cart with aluminum sheet pans. Now, this was inspired by the restaurant industry
and it’s actually a favorite technique of mine in design where I look to other disciplines
to see what kinds of things they use regularly and see if I can repurpose that in my own
work. Now, other places you might find inspiration
poking around online are the automotive industry or the fishing and marine industries. There are farm supply catalogues, medical
furniture supply catalogues, and of course there’s the woodworking supply houses. Be sure to let me know in the comments if
you have other favorites to share. Now, here’s what I like about this cart so
far for storing materials. It’s intentionally limiting. There’s only ten slots and so it forces me
to keep only the things that I’m most interested in. I try to edit ruthlessly and keep it populated
with only the materials that I’m really into or the ones that I’m researching right now. Now, number two. I like the archival, almost surgical feel
of this kind of setup. These trays kind of elevate the materials
making them sort of these talismans of the design process. It’s a little bit quirky I know but I really
do like it for that reason. Number three: easy access. Now I touched on this briefly already but
filing things away in a separate space out of eyeshot or easy reach means I’m less likely
to use them as talking points during a meeting or as inspiration for design that I’m working
on. Number four: casters. The casters allow me to roll the tray wherever
I need it. Number five: I can use these trays to store
other implements too, things like my studio essentials. That way I can use it when I’m model-making…put
everything on the tray up here roll it over to the table where I can work and build the
model. Now number six: the trays these make great
backgrounds for photography projects and honestly the samples work well for photographic backgrounds
too. Number seven: there’s an interactive element
to displaying materials in this kind of format, clients can participate in selecting items
to touch and we can build palettes together on-the-fly. Having these samples available by your side
at a meeting is a fantastic way to engage your client and sell your ideas. Now, granted for larger offices one of these
carts may not be enough but they do make taller ones. For this space and for my own personal taste
I like to have everything below eye level. Now the cart itself is all aluminum construction
and although it ships unassembled I was able to put it together in probably under five
minutes. It comes with four polyester ball-bearing
casters, two of which lock, and the capacity they say is rated at like 485 pounds something
like that. They’re 26-inches wide 20-inches deep and
38-inches tall. Now, there’s ten slots for pans but the top
can also hold one, which I use to store and build the current material palette I’m working
on or my studio essentials as we talked about earlier. Now, a three-inch shelf spacing means you
can’t store large materials here but I think that’s good for all the reasons we just discussed,
right? Now I bought mine for $92 on Amazon and the
companion aluminum baking sheets I purchased are 18 by 26 inches and they’re from Baker’s
mark I picked those up on “The Web Restaurant Store.” They’re heavy-duty, 19-gauge aluminum and
they have a rolled over wire rim. First I want you to consider what you want
to include. A good place to start is by using the CSI
divisions the ones architects used to specify materials. See our specifications are kind of like an
instruction manual that we hand to contractors when they’re getting ready to build the building. And, these are broken down into sixteen broad
categories things like concrete, masonry, metals, wood and plastics, hardware, finishes. And then, each one of those categories is
further broken down into subcategories for example under finishes a subheading might
be ceramic tile. Now, a comprehensive library will have a little
bit from each division. Depending on space limitations though, yours
may be intentionally smaller and more focused. Now, when sourcing, the first place to start
is with the manufacturer of the materials you’re interested in. Most will offer free samples to architects
and designers. You can query the search term “sample request
and manufacturer’s name”, simply fill out their form and you should have samples within
a few days. If you can’t find a sample request form just
give them a call and ask for the architectural sample department, tell them you’re an architect
or a designer and you’re working on a project and you’d like to have a sample. It’s good practice to have the project name
at the ready as they’re probably going to ask you for it. Now here’s another tip: you should request
the smallest sample possible to keep the footprint as small as you can. Also think about any fabricators in your area
that utilize the materials you’re interested in: cabinetry shops, furniture makers, metal
shops; these can all be great places to source materials and actually meet with other professionals
who likely know a lot more about the material you’re looking to work with than you do. Window suppliers are another great resource,
they offer these handy sample rings with wood and color chips on them and sometimes really
nice hardware chips. Search online for: concrete, metal, hardware,
paints, leather, fabric, tile, stone, glass. Google is your friend here. I’ve never had trouble getting a free sample
from a manufacturer and only occasionally have I had to pay shipping costs if the samples
were unusually large or especially heavy. I’ll have other books linked up in the cards
but I want to spend a little time on what I would consider to be the bible on materials
and that is this book which is called: Constructing Architecture. It’s edited by Andrea Deplazes it’s an absolute
beast it weighs in at five-hundred and sixty pages and it costs about $70US. It’s a steal for such a valuable reference
manual, though. Granted, the writing is a bit scholarly and
sort of thick at times and the imagery is only in black and white but the collection
of essays alone is worth every penny. The diagrams are just brilliant and it’s
sensibly divided and it will feed your intellect on every level. I think if you buy one book on materials it
should be this one. Check out the cards and the description below
for additional books that I like. But, I think you should start here first you
won’t be disappointed I promise. Okay now video resources. The Netflix “Abstract” series. I’ve talked about this before but if you haven’t
seen that Ilse Crawford episode yet – at least from a material -I think it’s a must watch. I’ve also recorded a number of videos on this
channel discussing materials and my personal obsession with them and so I’ve linked those
up in a playlist in the cards and in the description as well. One of my favorites and a good starting point
for you is the Harvard GSD material collection primer. It’s a beautiful free PDF guide; it’ll get
you thinking about materials a little bit differently. It’s illustrated with images of materials
in use and it’s sort of a free-form listing of the potential materials you may want to
investigate further. Also on the GSD site they maintain a list
of links to other material sources. Along the same vein, the University of Texas
at Austin has an online database of their nearly 28,000 samples and I think they might
do well to watch this video to pare it down a bit. What do you think? Now, I mention this because – academic institutions
– if you live near a college or university oftentimes will maintain a sample library. So you can go there and investigate. Now there’s Transmaterial, which is run by
Blaine Brownell. It’s a nicely curated collection of sort of
cutting-edge materials nicely categorized and Blaine has also published a couple of
books of the same title too so if that site’s layout and format interests you, you can find
more information there. “Material Connexion,” they host a materials
database. Now, this one is subscription-based model,
but I mention it because if you are at a university you may already have access through your academic
institution. So, check with them. Then, one of my personal favorites, is located
in Boston Massachusetts it’s Stone Source. Browse their beautiful image database and,
if you’re an architect, request samples for your projects here. Now, there’s also Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my absolute favorites. Pinterest allows you to curate your ideas
into boards. I use those to further collate images and
ideas on a per project basis and these could be private or they can be collaborative they
can be shared among teams or your client. One of the best features about Pinterest is
its visual search function you can actually window in on the image. So, let’s say you find an image of a piece
of steel. Zoom into a corner of that steel, you want
to find other images that are like that. Pinterest will actually sort through their
entire database and give you a best fit match for those. This can help you discover new architectural
references, new material references, and just sort of connect the dots in a way that just
doing a regular Google image search doesn’t. So, this has been a lot about materials, a
lot of resources here, a lot of things to think out. I would encourage you to start building a
small sample library using just a couple of things: a couple of wood samples, a couple
of concrete samples, just to get the – sort of – creative juices flowing. You can then start building your material
library from there and constantly edit and pare down to only the essentials, keep it
fresh, keep it interesting. Now, if I’ve helped you at all with this video
I hope you’ll consider liking, sharing, and commenting below. Please let me know your favorite materials
resources. Doing this helps me build the channel and
to know that I’m making the kinds of videos that you’re interested in watching. Cheers!

51 thoughts on “How I Store Architectural Materials

  1. one question, where can i get samples online and ship world wide??I need them for my graduate local stores never never give any samples

  2. Hi Eric, another inspirational video and the storage idea is amazing. Can't begin to describe the mess my office is !! Can't wait for the next video.

  3. It might be quite overwhelming to keep up with the quantity of materials and manufacturies available in the US. Do you usually source the same materials and manufacturies for you projects?

  4. Found your videos one night and I haven't stopped watching them yet they are very informative and help a lot I been doing a looking at buildings and landscape with a different approach

  5. Maybe my sample library is too big compare to yours. I may need to clean it because there is a lot of stuff that is old and outdated.
    Your idea of storage is great but is to small for me. But seeing it instead of keeping it inside a closet is better. Must rearrange my workspace !! Nice inside with Tadao Ando ! 😁

  6. Hi Eric I've been waiting for the next video your storage is very organized and amazing. Can you also make a video about storing your studio essentials and making a library of your books in general. Can't wait for the next video.

  7. Yet another great inspiring video. I re-watch your videos and take notes. These are so informative. Waiting for the next video.

  8. Hi eric, great video. You are one of the inspirations for us in the studio. Moreover, many things we can learn from each of your videos. Do not stop making it. We in jakarta (indonesia) try to imitate the way you share knowledge, maybe later we can share knowledge. Considering we are different countries. Cheers

  9. Hi Eric yet another great video (thanks!) please could you do a video on how you use Houzz to promote your architecture firm or something similar? Also, another portfolio reviewing/advice video would be incredibly helpful! Thanks

  10. I have almost no materials but I am also not usually in a position as an architect where I get to choose materials. Check for double wall polycarbonate and for greenhouse plastics, cabling and other commercial and residential scale agricultural supplies. Also, for more local (western Mass) stone for counters etc. check Ashfield Stone.

  11. A movable material library! That's interesting~

    As a student I'm starting to build my collection of materials, but those restaurant push carts are so pricey xD Ikea seems like the best bet for now

  12. Hi Eric, I recently came across your videos and they have shown to be an incredible help. I want a second opinion on something, I am soon to finish my studies in communication design, but have recently found a hidden love for architecture while doing an elective. I am considering studying architecture next year but I am also intimidated by starting a 3 year course at 23. I know its never to late to start something new, what do you think would be a good approach for someone who is unsure?"

  13. I also have very few samples on hand and only ever order them if required for a specific project. Here are a couple of online sites that I use:[in order of preference] [and then PRODUCTS tab]

    Yes, I'm in Australia. 🙂

  14. You are an inspiration. I'm still a student and when I watch your videos I take notes and I learn a lot from you. Please keep making more.

  15. Really love your videos. Awesome YouTuber!
    I have one thing don't understand. Why so many architects still making real models? Isn't computer 3D models are more accurate than them?

  16. Im an architecture student and was wondering what your best advice would be? I'm a little nervous i can't be as creative as I need to be to succeed

  17. Hi Eric. how its goin? I have a question for you.
    Towards a time that I came thinking the subject, which somehow raised in this video. I would like to know how you organize your inspiration.
    The architecture is unreachable. Can be extended as much as one wants on each particular area or theme. And I'm interested in being a good architect, so even though I'm a student, I collect examples every week, reading aspects about design and plus about use/function and constructive aspects.

    E.g., your notes and drawings by hand. How do you command inspiration, new ideas, the notes you take? Do you have everything mixed drawing in one notebook at a time? Or you have various notebooks separated by themes
    (uses, function, typology / materials,crafting / lighting, windows, light, sunshades/ e.g.).

    The same for inspiration and web information. Do you use evernote for texts? Or text / images in the cloud? Or local memory?
    This question comes because as a good introvert always tended to accumulate and order. I never thought that within Architecture I was going to collect so much information and images.
    I hope you can share your experience. Thanks for your time.

  18. Oh wow! I gotta get my hands on that book! thanks Eric for another informative video! you are such an inspiration! 😀

  19. great video…I think you hit it exactly right. It is so easy for a studio to get overloaded with reps dropping off materials you will never use. It takes a lot to keep it clean and up to date. Great tip with the baking trays. Thanks again for your view and opinion. One dislike? hmm.

  20. Hi Eric👋🏻 I'm studing at erior architecture at Turkey.In some lecture,we're watching your some videos.everyone get inspire lot

  21. Eric, great insight into the many types of materials and how to store them. I see a lot of hard surfaces, what and how do you handle your soft surface such as fabrics, and acoustical products that would work for your clients interiors. Thanks and keep up the good work. Craig

  22. I had an idea, though I believe it might be costly but I'm sure it could be done in an economical way. Have vertical slots it your wall the has a almost spring like mechanic where if you push one of the slots in it pushes it out. You can make it pivotal aswell, when the entire tray is out but still hinged to the wall, you can rotate it side to side.

  23. The last time I moved my Architectural practice I rubbish binned ALL my architectural samples. They are just not worth the considerable space they take up. I also trashed 90% of the paper catalogs, brochures and cutsheets, again most I never wound-up using.

    I must have 3000 slightly-used file folders now…

  24. I'm so glad I found this video. My son is in his first year of uni and already his room is like a natural disaster area with just the model building material…earthquake, flood, tornado all in one room😲😲😲

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