Boston Valley Terra Cotta is boasting a new look these days. Updated visuals and a redeveloped website reflect recent changes to the company’s infrastructure, processes, and technologies. Boston Valley’s antefix logomark – a rooftop ornament which terminates the covering tiles of a tiled roof – still stands as the company iconic image, in its representation of functional beauty in architecture. Originally a line art illustration, the new antefix logo has a cleaner, more modern presentation. Evenly rendered in positive and negative space, the new bolder mark expresses the relationship between form and function, historic and modern, and the handcrafted and technological processes that Boston Valley balances in the manufacture of terra cotta. The logo’s typefaces have also received an upgrade, to increase the mark’s legibility in digital and mobile applications.
In addition, the website has undergone several changes to help clients find information more easily as it continues to be a reliable source for details on Boston Valley’s projects. Weekly blog posts continue to keep viewers up-to-date on the status of projects, educating them about the manufacturing process as well as about the varieties of color, glaze and finish available. These stories are tracked over the course of manufacturing and construction until the final project portfolio page is added to the website — with large final images highlighting the architect’s designs.
BOSTON VALLEY HAS MADE A COMMITMENT TO GROWTH TO REFLECT INDUSTRY CHANGES
Boston Valley has made a commitment to growth over the past several years. Changes to the popular architectural aesthetic and advances in construction methods and the design of high-performance buildings have encouraged new development in the manufacturing of architectural ceramics for rainscreen systems, masonry construction, and unitized and precast solutions. In response, Boston Valley has assessed the factory’s production process and successfully strategized ways to improve capability and increase output without sacrificing the high-quality product for which the company is known.
Recent investments in the facility included additional machinery and production line improvements; a focus on the company’s Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) program addressed product quality and waste. Improvements to clay batch monitoring systems, barcode tracking, and routine project mockups and dry fit schedules have been put in place to ensure the highest quality product possible. These advancements have helped Boston Valley Terra Cotta to reduce waste and defective product by 85% and increase throughput by 60%.
Efforts haven’t been limited to the manufacturing process; the company has also improved the factory’s design-assist, pre-design, and modeling phase services. The site-survey departments utilize photogrammetry and tracking software, and digital reproduction is enhanced using 3D CAD/CAM software and RHINO. A 5-axis CNC router, 3D wire cutter, and digital sculpting programs help artisans to model terra cotta units for both the restoration of historic buildings and today’s unique profiles. Technology has been incorporated at every stage of the production line in order to improve Boston Valley’s precision fabricating capabilities both pre- and post-firing.
THE COMPANY HAS ALSO EXPANDED PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING TO ENCOURAGE GROWTH IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRY
The company has also expanded partnerships to encourage growth in the design industry. Boston Valley has made donations of machinery and equipment to the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning to help educate architectural students in the design and production of terra cotta prototypes. In addition, Boston Valley and UB/a+p created the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, which will enter its third iteration this upcoming August. ACAW is a workshop for building industry professionals interested in the possibilities of the world’s most enduring and flexible material, to learn about the production of architectural terra cotta and offers an opportunity to consider the materiality and design properties of terra cotta early in the design process. Boston Valley has created a workshop where academics, architects, and façade engineers work alongside ceramic manufacturers and artists using cutting-edge technology and rapid pro-type design models with an objective to develop a more informed design and producible product.
As changes in the industry continue, Boston Valley strives to stay ahead as the leader in architectural terra cotta manufacturing.