Reading #1 Building Elements + Materials

This page is where you will enter your reading reflections. The reading and reflections are to be entered prior to class discussions. Class discussions are in part based on your reflections on the reading.


  1. Cristian Rodriguez

    Cristian Rodriguez
    Reading #1 Reflection

    What I learned from this reading is that there is a lot to think about when choosing materials and working with them in construction. For example, a major factor that we have to think about when it comes to wood is the way the trees grow and what types of grains they form. When working with wood grains, it is important to know where along the grain you must cut. Another factor to think about is the moisture content, this is in order to prevent wood from rotting and decaying.
    When it comes to stone, we must know what the different minerals and aggregates are used for all types of purposes. Usually, stone is used for wall bearings and floor panels, so that means that this material must consist of hardness and durability.
    When it comes to concrete, calculations in cement are required for specific structures in order for them to handle certain stress and weight.
    Overall, working with construction materials isn’t as easy as it looks.

    • Prof. Loo

      I’m glad you realized it’s not as easy as it looks. keep this in mind when we get into detail about various topics and then you’ll know why its so important to have a grasps of all the different concepts that we will be discussing in class and how important it is to carry that knowledge into your other courses.

  2. Janan Yu

    After reading, I’ve learned that building materials are highly complex and come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what the material is being used for or where it is designated to go, the manufacturers will manipulate its properties so it can perform to the best of its ability. For example, bricks that are behind the facade are called “common bricks”, they do not have any special pigments which make it aesthetically appealing. In contrast “Face bricks” are shown which gives the building a nicer look. Woods are also used in many different ways, for example, hardwood can be used for paneling, studs, furniture, etc. Softer woods are used for general construction. The grain of the wood must be taken into account as if a load is put on a piece of wood perpendicular to its grain it will cause it to split. Materials used for construction have to carefully analyze and used properly or a structure will fail or become unappealing.

    • Prof. Loo

      I will say the same thing as i did for Cristian’s response.
      “I’m glad you realized it’s not as easy as it looks. keep this in mind when we get into detail about various topics and then you’ll know why its so important to have a grasps of all the different concepts that we will be discussing in class and how important it is to carry that knowledge into your other courses.”

  3. Mokhira Toirjonova

    our first reading assignment was mainly about building materials and their structures. the reason why we started the class discussing such matters is that the building materials were one of the major factors for new innovation forms through the history of architecture. readings gave me a brief concept about different kinds of materials such as stone, brick, steel, concrete, and wood. I had no idea such a simple and very common material like stone could have so many kinds and each is used for different purposes. one of the great aspects of stone is that it can be used in any conditions. unlike other materials, rough fragments of broken stone that have at least one good face can be used for flooring and wall decorations. even crushed stone can be used as aggregate in concrete products. it’s very strong and mainly used for its strength. in contrast, woods are very flexible and they give us an amazing opportunity to play with them using the temperature. because it’s a living thing, the influence the environment has on them is very important. in conclusion, A building’s structure is much more than floors, walls, and a foundation. all buildings rely on a variety of support materials to maintain long-term stability.

    • Prof. Loo

      yes it’s not as simple as it may seem. glad you see that. also its not just about the structure but also the other systems that are in place (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, enclosure, etc.).

  4. shirley

    This reading helped me understand and reinforce my knowledge in construction materials and know the elements with which they conform. Stone is an important material for construction and as it says in reading; It is the combination of inorganic chemicals and has different qualities such as: Strength, Hardnes, Durabulity, Workability, Densioty, Apearence. It is classified by geological origin and has 3 main stones. The igneus rock, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. It also talks about brick and its properties, wood, steel, concrete / reinforcement. Concrete is a fundamental part of construction as it is well known to be one of the primary materials in a construction. This is formed by cement, drinking water and aggregant, the aggregator is the mineral to help the cement to be stronger, be it sand, gravel, etc. These three materials together make up the concrete.

    • Prof. Loo

      Remember that a building is not just about the materials but also the systems, Structure, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, enclosure,etc.

  5. Justin pazmino

    In the reading Building Element + Material I understood what a house needed in order to become a living house. With the three systems structural system, enclosure system and mechanical system it gives a building more importance. There are three different types of stone rock there is a igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock. I learned that a common brick is different from my face brick because a face brick is used on the outside of a wall and a common brick is used for the interior of a wall. I didn’t know would have exposure and different grade. Steel is the strongest and cheapest material to use in buildings. I learn a lot from the reading which helped me understand what type of material are used on buildings.

    • Prof. Loo

      the systems don’t give the building more importance, they are essential to the building. when considering all these factors there is alot to be consider, options need to analyzed with the project goals in mind.

  6. Valeria Cortez

    From this reading I learned that there is a lot to think about when choosing materials and making them work. The reading was about different kind of materials such as steel, concrete, stone, brick and wood. It made me realize that there is so much more behind picking materials that are going to be used, it made me realize that something that sounds as simple requires a lot of thinking and to go through a process that includes several factors to consider in order to pick the right materials. For instance, when using wood there are different ways of using it, soft woods are mostly used for general construction and hardwood can be used for paneling, studs, furniture. Also when using wood grains, it is important to know and consider where in the grain you must cut. To summarize, this reading helped me understand that there is so much more behind picking materials for a house, building, etc; and that there are important factors to think about to achieve durability and stability in a building.

    • Prof. Loo

      yes there is a lot to think about and ultimately all factors must be analyzed and consider.

  7. Erick

    The text Building Elements + Materials gave me a clear understanding of how designing and and construction are tied together to the materials that are used to form a shelter based on its purpose and location. The text is broken down into five main different materials which are Stone, Brick/Cmu, Wood, steel and concrete . Stone can be composed of 3 different types of elements one is Igneous rock such as granite, metamorphic rock such as marble, and lastly Sedimentary rock such as limestone. Brick is also divided into different categories one being a facing brick which normally has color and its used for facing walls and normal brick which has no color or texture. Another material that is divided into different categories is wood, One is hardwood which comes from a broad-leavers while softwood which is the 2nd type of wood comes from evergreens. I also learned what identifies a metal to be steel, which is any iron based alloys having carbon content less than the cast iron and more than that of wrought iron. Lastly the text informs the reader of the 5 different types of portland cement, which are used in different temperatures and for different purposes.

    • Prof. Loo

      What do you think about the reading? How did the reading provide support for any prior understanding or how did it enlighten you.

  8. Cheyenne Brooks

    Reading #1 includes information based upon Building Elements and materials. What I got out of this reading was the importance of building construction. Building construction closely related with architecture in that it helps make a design reality. It makes sure that it’s functional by using systems like structural, enclosure and mechanical systems. These systems help keep the building up and running and can also be compared to the systems that run within our body. The reading goes on to explain the importance of the materials used while constructing a build, what surprised me was how technical and intricate all the materials actually are. There is a lot of science behind all of these materials and all different types and grades of each material. It was interesting to learn about the purposes of types and grades, each one is specifically designed for different types of scenarios. What I also found intriguing about this reading was about all the different types of wood and the behavior of each as time goes on, I would typically believe that there is one wood specific for construction but this is not the case.

    • Prof. Loo

      It would be too easy (and boring) if there was just 1 type for construction. there are may options that are considered for any specific need. that is why it’s important to understand the context in which you are using a specif material. is it appropriate?

  9. Aaron

    The reading about the different type’s materials such as steel, concrete, stone, brick/cmu.After reading this it makes you realize that there’s more to the building than just picking materials based on its look, but you also have to factor in the weather, if it’s for interior/exterior and other components. The weather could crack or weaken the material if it is not designed to withstand harsh weather.

  10. Lucas Lloret

    This reading focuses on the most common materials used to create a building and the building elements that make one . The reading talked about structural systems, its job is to support the house from the applied gravity and the lateral loads, then there’s the enclosure system, its job is to prevent any unwanted things from getting inside, and then there’s the mechanical system, which basically provides all the necessity such as electricity, sewage ,etc. Then the reading talked about the different materials such as stone, brick, wood, steel and concrete/reinforce concrete. This are the most used materials to build a house and depending on which one you use to build it will affect the way a building would be build. After reading this it helped me understand how using different materials might affect the different building elements, for example a house made out of wood wouldn’t really survive an earthquake and its lateral load compared to a house made out of steel which has more resistance.

    • Prof. Loo

      your last sentence is a bit more complex then than that which we can talk about when we discuss structure later in the semester. we will be talking about a these concept not only in the residential sense but their uses in all forms of architecture.

  11. Jaden

    The reading is mainly describing the materials and building systems that are necessary in creating a building. It tells that the conceptual systems is to be considered and followed prior to making a building. It shows how the structural, enclosure, and mechanical system each have a role and how they are incorporated in a building. The structural systems is used to support applied gravity and make sure lateral loads are safely on the ground. The enclosure systems provided protection and shelter from the weather and climate. The mechanical system distributes electricity and water in the building to keep us warm, cold, and safe with alarms. The reading also describes frequently used materials like wood, brick, steel, concrete, and stone. After reading this I realized the first reading is related to the concept map because the materials and structure. I’ve also realized there more things to making a building than whats on the concept map like the different systems and what each material is used for.

  12. Samantha

    After reading Building Elements and Materials , I realized there is more to consider when building . The reading made me realize that the materials being used and the ‘building systems’ involved are very essential. Aside from the functional use of a building, the importance of it is the scale, proportion and the building within the environment. A structure is made up out of systems in order to be stable and compatible with its environment. Similar to the human body, a structure relies heavily on its three systems which are Structural, Enclosure, and Mechanical system. Each has its own role into making a structure stable and functional. The structural system is the ‘skeleton’ of a structure, this involves columns, beams, walls, floors and roof support. The enclosure system consist of the roof, exterior walls, windows and doors. And finally the mechanical system covers the essential services to a building such as water, heat and electrical systems. The reading continues to describes different kinds of materials to use when building such as steel, wood, concrete, brick and stone. This part of the reading made me realize that the material you may want to use for a structure will not always be the best. This is also due to what materials will be compatible and functional for not only a specific structure but also the environment its in.

  13. Eddie

    After reading this first section of the book. I now understand why there’s so many different things to consider. Materials are probably the most important thing for a building and the first thing that will be needed. Before starting a structure we wonder if its steel, will it rust and decay? or should stainless steel be a better option? Stuff like this is what needs to be found out before starting anything else. Something that struck me was that wood needed to be grown a certain way for it to become stronger. But the thing is wood comes from a living thing, so essentially it needs to be cared for or else it wont be a good material to use. It depends on the type of soil, the amount of sunlight, and amount of water it needs. Other than that, i think materials are the most important to think about.

  14. Weicheng

    After I read about building elemets and meterials, it remind me my great grandmother’s house in China. The materials was use to build this house was quite different to the book I just read, probably it was build during world war II. the whole building was built by brick but in gray color, which I never seen in US.

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