SOURCE: The Architect’s Newspaper
AUTHOR: Trevor Schillaci
Included in the coverage of the 2023 ACAWorkshop is an article by The Architect’s Newspaper, reported on by program assistant Trevor Shillaci. Media attention such as this on ACAW is invaluable, as it increases awareness of the annual event within the architectural and engineering fields. The ultimate goal of holding the workshop is to encourage collaboration within the industry, and to help professionals develop a greater understanding of using terra cotta for high performance façade design.
Below are excerpts from the article featuring a few of the team prototype contributions:
This team deviated from the rest, developing a prototype for a terra cotta staircase instead of a facade system. The staircase demonstrated that terra cotta is also viable as a structural material. After studying several different configurations, the team settled on a system where the stair treads rest on a single structural stringer. The anatomical properties of a whale spine served as an inspiration for the design of the staircase.
The team from Selldorf drew upon their work from previous projects in collaboration with Boston Valley Terra Cotta. In creating their facade prototype, the team worked to reduce the overall weight of the ram-pressed tiles, ultimately achieving a nearly 60 percent reduction. The final product, which features an undulating wave pattern, was the result of extensive modeling to investigate various curvatures expressed as sine waves. Alternations of convex and concave curvatures were the result. The pigment utilized in the glaze was sourced from industrial metals, primarily iron oxides, found in slag-waste from an industrial site.
Designers from Eric Parry Architects shared the firm’s use of terra cotta for an ongoing project involving Fishmongers’ Hall on the river Thames in London. While the designers initially intended to use stone masonry for the project, it was ultimately too heavy for use. Complying with this year’s biophilic theme, different species of plant, as well as lichen and moss, were tested on a prototype, which will inform the design of the London project. When glazing the terra cotta, the team experimented with a speckled pattern which was counted and modeled to make sure that the specks of color were applied “uniformly” to the structure.