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DURABLE: Sustainable Material Ecologies, Assemblies, and Cultures

190830 BS Aweb

DURABLE is a design imperative to construct sustainable environments that promote not only long material life cycles, but also enduring cultural significance. Crucial to a sustainable architecture is the design of buildings that will endure for generations while also constantly adapting to ever-changing cultural needs. This exhibition examines the durability of materials of robust architecture that remain useful and valued despite the vicissitudes of time. Three domains of durability—Durable Material Ecologies, Durable Material Assemblies, and Durable Material Cultures—will provide a lens through which to focus on four architectural materials: wood; masonry; steel; and concrete.

DURABLE challenges architects, clients, and the general public to consider the lifespan and the global and local impact of buildings by demonstrating how the design for durability can shape a sustainable future.

The exhibition will demonstrate that to justify the large material, energy, effort, and financial investment to construct a building also demands that it lasts a long time. The visual information, the interactive 3D material displays, the public engagement, and the educational outreach offer a broad array of experiences for people of all ages and interests to engage with the cultural and environmental benefits of design that embraces the full material life cycle of architecture.

DURABLE is a direct extension of the research conducted by the winning 2017-2019 AIA Latrobe Prize team on “Future-Use Architecture: Design for Persistent Change.” This exhibition aligns with the aspirations of the Latrobe Prize to advance knowledge in the profession and increase public awareness of a broad definition of sustainability, one that creates long-lasting, high-performing, adaptable, and culturally-significant built environments.

Related Content:

Seeing the forest for the building, Architecture Boston, March 19, 2020

Associated exhibition programming:

Opening reception
Thursday, February 27 at 6:00 pm
*Cancelled*Brick Revisited: Just How Green Is It?
Thursday, March 19 at 6:00 pm
*Cancelled*Family Design Day: How Low Can You Go?
Saturday, March 21 at 10:30 am
Northeastern University Panel
Tuesday, March 31 at 6:00 pm
Sustainable Design in Clay Masonry
Thursday, April 16 at 6:00 pm
Sustainable Building with Concrete

Thursday, April 23 at 6:00 pm
Brick Economics and Design

Tuesday, May 12 at 6:00 pm

Lead Sponsor

Spaulding Brick

Contributing Sponsor

Goody Clancy


Architectural Woodwork Institute

Best Tile of New England

Consolidated Brick

International Masonry Institute

Jandris Block

Sunrise Erectors

In-Kind Supporters

General Shale

Island Exterior Fabricators

Michael Green Architects

New England Forestry Foundation

Island Exterior Fabricators

Wienerberger AG

Special thanks to the AIA College of Fellows for supporting the research presented in this exhibition through the 2017 Latrobe Prize.



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BSA Space hosts exhibitions on design and architecture, architecture cruises and walking tours, and other programs and events that foster exchange between design and construction, the profession and the public, and encourage collaboration across the city and world.

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