Students from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture worked on a semester-long studio project wherein they explored the use of terra cotta as a building material. The goal of the studio was to erect semi-permanent towers in the quad behind the Architecture building on campus by the end of the semester. Students were encouraged to “[study the material and make discoveries] in terms of improving or diminishing certain characteristics, such as examining the material’s reaction to temperature, light, wind, and other forces, including the process of making the material ready for architectural application and the process of construction itself.”
The students began the process by visiting Boston Valley Terra Cotta to tour the facilities and learn about the different techniques in the production of architectural terra cotta. The students attended workshops at Boston Valley to be trained on model and mold construction for the traditional production techniques of hand-pressing and slip casting, as well as the newer production method of extrusion. Each production type was tested on a small scale project.
For the final product, four teams designed and constructed towers of terra cotta using slip-casting and hand – pressing molds. One team invented a system to digitally customize 160 panels for their tower.
For more information on the programs at UB: Graduate Research