Malcolm Holzman has had a fascination for and profound attraction to materials throughout his professional life, from his early partnership in Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Architects to his current practice with Holzman Moss Architects. Some are conventional, others entirely innovative and surprising. Some have been recycled, appropriated, reinterpreted or rescued outright from the “spoil pile” or “bone yard.” Although not specific to stone, Holzman devotes separate chapters to building materials that he has used successfully and repeatedly in hundreds of projects all over the country: Glazed Tile, Glass, Metal, Wood, Clay and Appropriated Materials not normally used in architecture.
In using these various materials, one underlying principle has guided his selection process for decades: Understand how the material was made. Visit the factory, the quarry, the lumberyard, the kiln, etc. Holzman says that his ability to use materials economically results from his knowledge of the process of production and his understanding of the physical properties of the material produced.
The book also addresses sustainability. The impact of construction on the environment has led architects to develop a series of sustainable standards, such as the use of local or regional materials, recycled and low-embodied energy materials and resource conservation.