MATERIAL COLLECTION

The Materials Lab maintains the largest and most comprehensive academic material collection in the world. The ever-growing collection features 27,000 + material samples and is reflective of the current building and design markets with a particular focus on smart, emerging and sustainable materials and technologies.  Our student staff is continually contacting manufacturers to acquire new and innovative samples; in addition, we add to our collection from the generous donations of local architects and designers.  

The collection is organized by the Construction Specifications Institute’s (CSI) MasterFormat to familiarize students with industry standards before entering the design profession.  The collection is circulating, and most samples may be checked out by students and faculty of UT Austin.  We welcome visitors and are open to the public.

ONLINE DATABASE

Access the database >>

All samples in our collection are searchable online by five categories of criteria:  composition, form, process, properties, and application.  Each entry includes sample images and dimensions, location and availability in our physical library, manufacturer information, and a list of material attributes.  

HOW TO USE THE COLLECTION

One way to find material samples is to browse the physical library, exploring each row and digging through bins of fascinating materials and products.  You never know what you might be inspired by!

If you're looking for something specific, use our online database to find the material you're looking for - it will help you search by different qualities and functions (see above).  You can also use the database to identify the location of a material that you already have in mind.  Each material sample is identified with a barcode that will tell you the row in which the object is located, the CSI group, and the item number.

For example, the search result for a Velour Texture Orange Brick from the Acme Brick Company lists the barcode 01-042113-000:

The 01- indicates that the sample is located in row 1; the middle six numbers indicate the CSI group 04 21 13, or brick masonry; and the item number is 000.  

ROW 1 
03 00 00 Concrete

04 00 00 Masonry

ROW 2
04 40 00 Stone Assemblies
05 00 00 Metals

ROW 3
06 00 00 Woods, Plastics & Composites

ROW 4
07 00 00 Thermal & Moisture Protection

ROW 5
08 00 00 Openings
09 00 00 Finishes

ROW 6
09 00 00 Finishes

ROW 7
09 00 00 Finishes

ROW 8
09 00 00 Finishes
10 00 00 Specialities

ROW 9
12 05 13 Fabric

ROW 10
12 00 00 Furnishings
13 00 00 Special Construction
31 00 00 Earthwork

ROW 11
32 00 00 Exterior improvements
44 00 00 Pollution Control Equipment
 

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Masonry samples located in Row 1 of our physical library
Masonry samples located in Row 1 of our physical library

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All material samples are represented on our online database
All material samples are searchable on our online database

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Brick
Each material sample is tagged with a bar code that identifies its row location, CSI group, and item number