Research Centre: Fabrication and Material Technologies Lab
Active Dates: September 2017 - December 2017
Rethinking structural terracotta bricks through robotic 3D printing technologies
Project Leaders: Christian J. Lange, Donn Holohan
Research Assistants: Mono Tung, Kristy Chow, Pamela Maguigad
The Fabrication and Material Technologies Lab of The Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong has recently finished its second robotically manufactured intervention called “CeramicINformation Pavilion.”
The project is part of an evolving series, which aims to reconcile the material intelligence of vernacular crafts with the specificity and flexibility promised by digital design and fabrication technologies. This particular iteration explores the process of construction, and seeks to find an appropriate level of automation suitable for emerging and transitioning economies.
Each of the approximately 1000 components that make up the experimental structure is unique and has a specific immanent relationship to its neighbors. This approach allowed the complex construction to be realized using unskilled labor, over a short period, without the need for typical architectural drawings. As a point of departure, this project examined the ubiquitous terracotta brick – common in modern Chinese construction, and explored it’s potential re-shaping through the process of robotic 3d printing. Approximately 1.5million lines of code were generated – with each brick containing an average of 1400 individual target-points.
The bricks were manufactured over a period of 20 days before the lightweight elements were shipped to the site and assembled into the multifaceted wall. The project not only highlights the new possibilities for architectural expression, but also the capacity these systems have to change the way in which we fashion the built environment.
The project was part of the 2017/18 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (UABB) in Shenzhen, China.
Completion Year: 2017
Location: No. 82 East Zhongshan Street, Wanli Industrial Zone, Nantou Old Town, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Built Area (m2): 3 sqm
Funding body: UABB Shenzhen