The materials used in architecture inform our experience of buildings and spaces through the interplay of aesthetic, social and historic considerations. Both structural and decorative elements have a role to play, whether immediately visceral or only on a subliminal level. Human beings have a relationship to the materials, one that is colored by our values and expectations and not easily set aside. Continued innovations by architects at the vanguard of design have pushed the limits of acceptance - envisioning unique and often surprising structures challenging our preconceptions. Glass, stone, concrete, steel and wood all compete for our attention - their best characteristics presented by the brilliant architects featured, successfully showcasing each material's full range of implementation.