Architecture and design are areas of great potential growth for composites. Who better to speak with than an architect who understands composites and is helping to educate the next generation of architects about our industry? Jefferson Ellinger teaches at the UNC Charlotte School of Architecture. His work with Windsor Fiberglass (an ACMA member) helped him re-engage with composites in architecture. Composites Manufacturing Interviews spoke with Mr. Ellinger to learn about his approach to teaching his students about composites as well as his thoughts on what more can be done to grow consideration and preference for composites in the architecture community.
ACMA will host a Composites Pavilion at the 2014 AIA Convention in Chicago this June. Learn more at CompositesPavilion.com.
When and how did you become involved with composites? What sparked your desire to work with composite materials?
I studied material science engineering as an undergraduate and have always been interested in the application of advanced materials in architecture because of those studies. I first used modern composites for projects as an undergrad but was met with resistance from my professors because composites weren’t a ‘real’ architectural material. This struck me as quite odd at the time but I now realize it speaks to a general romantic notion within the discipline of architecture about material and structural expression that persists today. (Which is ironic given that most of the architectural applications for modern composites are mimicking other materials or assemblies.)