Transformative Materials and Applications

Transstudio is a research and design consultancy specializing in innovative materials and applications in design. New materials have been identified as one of three areas of revolutionary growth and development—along with information technology and biotechnology—and are exerting a profound influence on the designed environment. Founded by architect and materials researcher Blaine Brownell, Transstudio investigates transformational technologies and applications with a focus on future design and construction opportunities.

Our services


We probe material technology and design trends to uncover fundamental cultural, economic, and environmental insights—knowledge that enables the development of informed strategies for new products, assemblies, and resource streams.


We explore new material and design opportunities based on the study of influential trajectories in technological advancement. These speculations provide visual and/or tactile realizations of possible futures in the designed environment.


We disseminate important and useful knowledge about material technologies, sustainable strategies, and design innovation—wisdom that empowers organizations and individuals to connect specialized expertise to broader social, financial, and ecological forces.

What We Offer


We provide industry reports and surveys, environmental assessments, and customized material libraries.


We produce material prototypes for color material finish (CMF) studies as well as speculative architecture and design works.

Presentations and Workshops

We offer a range of learning opportunities including lectures, half-day or day-long seminars, and week-long intensive studios—with continuing education credit.

Clients and Collaborators

We work with a diverse range of organizations representing a a variety of material endeavors and industries, including: 3M, Advanced Materials Council, Association for Contract Textiles, Danish Architecture Center, Danish Design Center, Delaney + Chin, Design Neoub, Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Building Sciences, National Paint and Coating Association, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Panasonic Corporation, Steelcase Corporation, Touchstone Energy, Trinity Consulting, Window and Door Manufacturers’ Association


In Their Words

[A] crusade to find, evaluate and report on new sustainable materials.

Alex Steffen
Alex Steffen Planetary Thinking LLC

Traversing Mr. Brownell’s web site is like browsing through a catalog of human ingenuity.

Amy Cortese
Amy Cortese The New York Times

A steady flow of inspiration… a 21st Century version of the Grammar of Ornament.

Jeanne Paterak
Jeanne Paterak Architalx

Latest news


Five Technologies to Watch in 2015

Interactive surfaces, soft machines, and self-healing products are among the developments in architectural technology expected to continue this year. In 1988, the author Tom Forester claimed in The Materials Revolution: Superconductors, New Materials, and the Japanese Challenge (The MIT Press, 1988) that three mega-technologies would one day dominate global industrial activity: information technology, biotechnology, and […]


Visible Green

New material opportunities in sustainable design Throughout history, the designed environment has been visibly influenced by transformations in technology, culture, and the natural world. Historians like Bashford Dean have visually chronicled the morphological evolution of human products and artifacts over the course of centuries, revealing design’s responsiveness to crises and opportunities. In the latter part […]


Made in Germany by Robots

Stuttgart University employs robots to fabricate the shell of a pavilion about innovative construction methods. Robots are gaining traction when it comes to the highly precise construction of geometrically complex assemblies. Initially, architects employed them to fabricate small-scale, prototypical installations. But as the technology continues to develop, architects are using machines to create larger, permanent […]

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