School of Architecture College of Design

Blaine E. Brownell, AIA LEED AP, Associate Professor

Blaine E. Brownell, AIA LEED AP

Associate Professor and Director, Master of Architecture Program

Director of Graduate Studies


Telephone: 612-626-1040

Office: 145 D Rapson Hall


Blaine's research considers emergent materials and applications with three particular areas of focus: technology, sustainability, and Japanese architecture. His work is informed by a wide range of sources, given the fact that new materials arise within the full spectrum of material categories and are often initially associated with fields outside of building construction. Context is essential in assessing the importance of material trajectories and their potential effects, tracing the lineage of material technologies, and understanding the sociocultural and environmental motives that drive the realization of innovative material applications. His long-term objective is to develop a critical framework for assessing the technological development and environmental influence of materials in architecture, in order to reveal consequential trajectories as well as recognize and exploit future opportunities for innovation.


  • Emergent materials
  • Material applications in architecture
  • Sustainable building technologies
  • Japanese architecture and design


  • Master of Architecture, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 1998
  • Bachelor of Arts in Architecture + Certificate in East Asian Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 1992

Professional Credentials

  • Sustainable Building Advisor, Sustainable Building Advisor Institute, Seattle, Washington, 2005
  • Construction Document Technologist, Construction Specifications Institute, Alexandria, Virginia, 2005
  • LEED Accredited Professional, United States Green Building Council, Washington, DC, 2003
  • Registered Architect, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, Washington, DC; State of Washington, 2003

Published Books

  • Hypernatural: Architecture's New Relationship with Nature. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015 (Co-authored with Marc Swackhamer)
  • Material Strategies: Innovative Applications in Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012
  • Matter in the Floating World: Conversations with Leading Japanese Architects and Designers. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011
  • Transmaterial 3: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Physical Environment. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
  • Transmaterial 2: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Physical Environment. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008
  • Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Physical Environment. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006

Courses Taught

  • Arch 3511: Material Transformations
  • Arch 4150/5550: Study Abroad in Japan
  • Arch 5110: Architecture as Catalyst
  • Arch 5541: Material Strategies
  • Arch 8251: Graduate Architectural Design I
  • Arch 8255: Graduate Architectural Design III
  • Arch 8565: Material Performance in Sustainable Building


School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

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Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

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