Shuyi Yin, Yale School of Architecture, M.E.D.
If we define the frame of architecture as columns and beams, then the chosen materials that make up these elements become fundamental to architecture. I believe that materiality is the essence of architecture, for the latter cannot exist without its frame. For instance, we find ourselves awed by the majestic limestone foundation and the Pentelic marble columns at the Parthenon, the warm white oak interior paneling in Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art, and the elegant combination of terracotta, sandstone, and brick in Frank Furness’ Fisher Library, etc. All these demonstrations of materiality illustrate how much spatial experience depends on the interaction between architectural materials and the haptic sensations of the human body. The perception of architectural spaces can only be consummated through the presence of both concrete materiality and the human body. During this process of perception, material becomes the medium for architecture and the body to justify each other. Architecture, the human body and materiality thus must be concurrent in order for architecture to exist.