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Plastic Chains: Timeline of Plastics in Architecture and Engineering

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractScientific


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication typeNot Eligible
EventPermanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering - Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Columbia University, New York, United States
Duration: 30 Mar 201130 Apr 2011
Conference number: 4


ConferencePermanent Change
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address


Plastic Chains is a visualization of the technological and cultural history of plastic in architecture, engineering, design and art. Starting with the known origins of oil derives-which dates back to biblical times-it follows the development and uses of natural rubber, the first polymer synthesis and the significant industrial advances and proliferation of the material as aftereffects of two world wars. The installation also traces plastic´s setbacks, such as during 1973 oil crises, leading, finally, to the material´s rebound in the early 1990s, a buoyancy that continues to the present. The final developments of plastics that are charted are the works of the speakers participating in the conference "Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering." Thematically, Plastic Chains approaches the historical implications of plastic through three interwoven genealogies: scientific, cultural and one of practice. These paths can be tracked following a color code and taxonomical icons listed in the installation´s keys.


  • Plastic, Architecture, Engineering