The Science Museum in London commissioned Thomas Heatherwick studio to design a Materials House, an exhibit to show “everything that anything can be made of” for the Challenge of Materials gallery.Instead of prioritising any one material to make the House from, and then exhibiting small samples of all the other materials within it, the studio chose to make the House itself from all of the materials.

Arch2O Materials House Thomas Heatherwick-05

Courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick

Six metre high pieces of each material are bonded together into a single element of many strata, weighing approximately four tonnes. The edge of every layer is visible around the object, and each material shows its surface at one point as a protruding piece. The geometric pattern becomes increasingly complex as the layers accumulate.

Arch2O Materials House Thomas Heatherwick-04

Courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick

The finished object is an assembly of 213 materials, each material needing its own cutting and bonding technique, all together in over 2000 individually shaped pieces sourced from more than eighty suppliers and sponsors. The Materials House was completed in 1999 and has remained a centrepiece of the gallery.

Courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick

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