Video: Building Know-how: Terra Cotta
Project: The Fitzroy
Developer: JDS Development Group
Filmmaker: Stephen Penta
Boston Valley Terra Cotta has been working with developer JDS Development Group and building designer Roman and Williams to bring The Fitzroy to life at 514 W 24th St in New York City. Below is a video courtesy of JDS Development Group and filmmaker Stephen Penta, touring the Boston Valley factory and discussing this project:
This unique job features all four of Boston Valley’s forming methods to create the 5600 masonry units involved in the Fitzroy’s sleek terra cotta facade:
- Extrusion, the most efficient method of forming terra cotta; linear panel units are extruded by forcing clay through a steel die.
- Ram Press, which is the use of a hydraulic press to create many pieces from a single mould, it is an efficient process as each press can produce roughly 200 units per day.
- Hand Press, in which clay is packed into a mold by hand — this forming method is used primarily for smaller quantity runs of a specific unit type and when a high level of non-linear detail is necessary.
- And lastly, Slip Casting, a technique that uses a special recipe of liquified clay slip, which is poured into a plaster mold until the desired wall thickness is achieved. Slip Casting is another forming method that is used for fine detailing. This process relies on the natural, water absorbing properties of plaster for the clay to become solid again. Along with Hand Press, it is one of the earliest methods of forming terra cotta.
Following the forming of the terra cotta units, Boston Valley applied a textured finish and glaze before firing in the kilns. Our expert team prepared a custom formula to match the desired hue, depth, and sheen to realize the architects’ vision. Once the masonry units receive the glaze application, the individual pieces are fired. Before shipping, the masonry units are put together in a dry fit to ensure tolerances and confirm color for client inspection.