2016 was our inaugural event and it was a great success for all involved. Here is a look at 2016’s topic, teams, speakers, venues and sponsors.
2016 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop:
With the advent of modern climate control systems, the building skin quickly became an envelope to demarcate the consistency of man-made interior space from the vicissitudes of the natural environment. Increasingly, building envelopes are tasked with creating a more active role in negotiating these two environments. The Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop aims to explore the potential of module ceramic components to operate in this regard.
Earthen materials, as one of the first construction technologies, by default maintain a connection to the environment. Historically, ceramic materials have offered a variety of different thermal, hydraulic, and day lighting performance opportunities: porous clay bodies can function as breathable volumes for planters or as evaporative cooling surfaces in arid climates, their thermal mass can be used to offset extreme diurnal cycles.
While these historical examples remain as potent as ever, emerging technologies can now aid in the design and production of ceramic components as well as the calibration of their thermal properties with their effects on the built and inhabited environment. The molding and forming techniques involved in ceramic production often produce vessel forms, which can now be aggregated and networked to create large-scale systems of fluid storage and distribution such as radiant water heaters and trombe walls. The ability to simulate and calculate thermal, lighting, and fluid dynamics offers the potential to digitally model and produce ceramic components which can operate as shade screens calibrated to allow more sunlight to penetrate at precise moments of the day and year.
Cool Brick ceramic evaporative cooling modules, Emerging Objects / Virginia San Fratello & Ronald Rael
While ceramic materials have played a crucial role in building construction until the mid-20th century, recently their possibilities for thermal performance have been relatively unexplored since the invention of the curtain wall. As buildings and their envelopes have become increasingly larger, it becomes even more significant to test the potential impact of ceramic systems that move beyond the scale of brick masonry buildings and turn-of-the-century terra cotta façades.
Adding to this is the aging building stock of most American urban centers. In particular, many of the components of these original curtain walls are reaching the end of their life spans as gaskets and fasteners deteriorate. For many of these inefficient structures, it may prove more cost and resource effective to preserve and re-clad their original framework with new sustainable envelopes that update both materiality and ethos appropriate for the next century and beyond.
The design provocation for the 2016 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop will challenge architects, artists, designers, and engineers to address the untapped potential for ceramic component systems to create large-scale bioclimatic structures and environments.