Inventing new smart materials to support climate-resilient architecture

Many architects are content to use what’s at hand. But NJIT’s Martina Decker, an environmentally concerned designer with a keen interest in technology, wants to invent new materials to change how the world is built.

Professor Martina Decker, a member of the faculty in NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design, collaborates with colleagues from physics, electrical engineering, chemistry and other fields. Her aim is to leverage science and technology in all its forms to advance the possibilities of architecture and design and make buildings more sustainable. Sometimes engineered at the nanoscale, the smart materials Professor Decker is exploring can change their size and shape, store and release water, generate or conduct electricity, even change color. A smart polymer embedded in a facade system, for example, can allow or deny solar heat gain in a building, control ventilation or guide daylight further into the interiors to conserve electricity.

Professor Decker believes these materials, transferred to architecture and the constructed environment, will be crucial for more climate-resilient cities.

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Martina Decker
Martina DeckerAssistant Professor, College of Architecture and Design

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