Forum 2019 – The Materials Book: Re-materializing Construction – Cairo (Ruby Press)

2nd Edition

The approaches documented range from centuries-old traditions to newly developed biomaterials, from low-tech, artisanal methods to advanced digital technologies, from incremental shifts to massive, top-down changes. There’s no single solution, no silver bullet, but rather a palette of ideas that, taken together, can serve as a guidebook for those who want to build in a better way – not in some distant future, but right now.

The Materials Book was enabled by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. Created in 2003, the Foundation raises awareness of the important role that architecture, engineering, urban planning and the building industry have in achieving a more sustainable future. It is an initiative of LafargeHolcim, and expresses its commitment to sustainable development.

Bibliographic details

The Materials Book 

Ilka Ruby & Andreas Ruby (eds)

2nd edition - Berlin, Ruby Press, 2021.

[1st edition - Berlin, Ruby Press, 2020.]

Binding/Format: English, 400 pages, 170 x 230 mm, soft cover

ISBN: 978-3-944074-40-5


  • Introduction: The Matter of Construction: Systemic Overhaul or Tweaking the Status Quo?
  • Marc Angélil & Cary Siress
  • 37 Propositions for Re-materializing Construction
  • – Edited by Sarah Nichols

Talks on Materials

  • Make Do
  • Anne Lacaton
  • Sustainability Triad: Three Timber Buildings
  • Christine Binswanger
  • Place, Nature, Energy, Recycling, Materiality
  • Lord Norman Foster
  • Harvesting Materials in a World of Finite Resources
  • Laila Iskandar

Changing Paradigms: Materials for a World Not Yet Built

  • Build More with Less: How to Create the Future without Destroying the World
  • Werner Sobek
  • Cultivated Building Materials: The Fourth Industrial Revolution?
  • Dirk Hebel & Felix Heisel
  • Mushroom Materials Named under the Sun
  • Phil Ross
  • Reuse and Recycling: Materializing a Circular Construction
  • Felix Heisel
  • Reuse Economy
  • Maarten Gielen
  • Paradigm Shift: The City of 1,000 Tanks, Chennai
  • Eva Pfannes

Shifting the Flows, Pulling the Strings: Stocks, Flows, and Their Dynamics

  • Beyond Circularity
  • Marilyne Andersen & Guillaume Habert
  • How the Circular Economy Can Lead to Carbon Neutrality
  • Serge Salat
  • Enhancing Livability through Resource Efficiency: An Urban Metabolism Study in Cairo
  • Heba Allah Essam E Khalil
  • Toward Urban Dematerialization: Governance for the Urban Commons
  • Mark Swilling
  • How Much Does Your Building (or Its Corresponding Infrastructure) Weigh?
  • Stefanie Weidner
  • Cities as Ecosystems and Buildings as Living Organisms
  • Christoph Küffer

From Manual to Digital and Vice Versa: Digitization, Labor, and Construction

  • Imposing Challenges, Disruptive Changes: Rethinking the Floor Slab
  • Philippe Block, Cristián Calvo Barentin, Francesco Ranaudo & Noelle Paulson
  • Pizza and Dirt in Uganda: A Student-Led Project Proves the Viability of Rammed-Earth Construction
  • Achilles Ahimbisibwe
  • Building Climate: From Mechanical to Material
  • Arno Schlueter
  • Designing for Natural Ventilation: Climate, Architecture, System
  • Alpha Yacob Arsano
  • Rebuilding after Disaster: Children’s Recreational Center in Juchitán, Oaxaca
  • Loreta Castro Reguera
  • KnitCrete: Building in Concrete with a Stay-in-Place Knitted Fabric Formwork
  • Mariana Popescu, Matthias Rippmann, Tom Van Mele & Philippe Block

Catch-22: Material Needs versus Material Impact

  • MaGIC: Marginal Gains in Construction
  • John Orr
  • From India: Three Lessons in Sustainable Construction
  • Soumen Maity
  • Cement and Concrete Materials Science and Engineering Education in Africa: Opportunities for Development
  • Yunus Ballim
  • Concrete as a Socio-technical Process
  • Elise Berodier
  • Urbanism and the Technosphere
  • Albert Pope
  • Building to Cool the Climate: The New Carbon Architecture
  • Bruce King
  • Epilogue: Standing on a Thin Arch: Incremental versus Radical Change
  • Simon Upton
  • A Collection of Building Components and Materials – Compiled by Something Fantastic

Ordering instructions for hardcopies

Order directly from the publisher, Ruby Press, for EUR 38 per copy (excl. handling charges)

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