As part of the Trans-Hitos innovation showcase at Cevisama; Harvard University delighted visitors with an installation titled Ceramic Morphologies that explored the design opportunities of a novel ceramic 3D printing strategy. The project was developed by researchers and students from the Material Processes and Systems (MaP+S) Group at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Supported by the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC) in Castellón, Spain, the project is a prototype for the additive manufacturing of ceramic building components on an industrial scale.
The pavilion showcased the expressive potential of ceramic 3D printing, and tested the adaptation of the principles of thermodynamic heat transfer to 3D printed geometry. The shape and design are products of current research related to the thermal performance of naturally ventilated spaces: itself the result of a collaboration with Salman Craig and Matan Mayer from the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities.
The pavilion’s pyramid shape facilitates upward air movement, and the interior geometry impacts the thermal exchange between ambient air and the interior mass/surface. The contoured, sinusoidal texture of the interior surface is designed to optimize the ratio of surface area to thermal mass, and maximize the potential for cooling through natural ventilation and buoyancy effects.
The project utilizes a proprietary clay extrusion system and 3-axis armature to produce each of the pavilion’s unique ceramic elements. Measuring 3,000mm tall, with a footprint of 3,200 by 3,600mm, the pavilion consists of 552 unique elements ranging from 260mm up to 545mm in length, and 70mm to 150mm in height. 184 elements, representing 33% of the entire structure, were displayed in the Trans-Hitos configuration. Gaps between pieces allow for tolerances in the production. In total, the 184 printed elements displayed required 358 hours of printing time, and consumed 12.33 miles of extruded clay bead.
The work of the Network of Ceramic Studies Department has already improved the process, sparking projects that have significant implications for the whole industry; as well as meeting the needs of a new era, and area, of design.
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, October 2017
This article first appeared in Ceraspana 39: published by Ascer, The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association