In a recent article published by Metropolis Magazine, terra cotta is lauded as a favorable material for contemporary buildings. Terra cotta is known for its ability to mimic other materials, but today architects are choosing to use terra cotta for its own aesthetic properties and beauty as well as its potential to be transformed into any shape. Several examples of modern applications of terra cotta such as KPF’s One Vanderbilt and Selldorf Architect’s 10 Bond are shown to be successful applications of one of the oldest materials.
Boston Valley goes an extra step. Since 2016, the company has underwritten the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, inviting teams of architects to its western New York facility to push the formal limitations of its product. The idea behind the event, hosted jointly with the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, is for participants to get a feel for the material by assembling the prototypes they design over the course of many months. It’s also good for business: The complex, parametrically driven pieces that have come out of the workshop sessions have pushed Boston Valley to expand its digital capabilities while maintaining the craft element of production.
Header image: Participants from team SHoP Architects assess their prototype at the 2019 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop.
Photo credit: Charles Wingfelder, Courtesy of University at Buffalo