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INTERDISCIPLINARY ‘COMMUNITIES OF EXCELLENCE’ HAVE BUSY FIRST YEAR FACULTY ACROSS ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN PLANNING CONTINUE TO ADDRESS SOCIETY’S GRAND CHALLENGES AS LEADERS OF UB’S INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH COMMUNITIES ON SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING AND ADVANCED ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGIES (SMART),WHICH PAIRS ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS TO INCUBATE NEW MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES IN DESIGN AND BUILDING; AND GLOBAL HEALTH EQUITY, WHICH CONNECTS CULTURE, GENDER NORMS, HUMAN BEHAVIOR, POLICY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT TO DEVELOP SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL HEALTH CHALLENGES. HERE WE OFFER A GLIMPSE INTO THEIR LATEST WORK.

SMART Bioclimatic Ceramic Assemblies. Faculty members Omar Khan and Laura Garófalo are working with leading architectural manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta to develop research in large-scale ceramic assemblies for bioclimatic innovation in building. The 2016 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, held in Buffalo last August, kicked off an annual workshop series designed to incubate new products and support the scale-up of ceramic applications. The exploratory workshop brought UB faculty and students together with sculptors and designers from Boston Valley as well as educators, artists and architects from around the world for five days of group-based learning and ‘clay storming’ sessions. Among the concepts being tested are the use of clay bodies as breathable, green walls and evaporative cooling surfaces, and the development of vessellike components to manage rainwater storage and filtration. Among the participants was Matthais van Arkel, a Swedish artist and three-dimensional painter interested in the study of materiality. In his first time working with clay, van Arkel created a simple system of thumb-pressed clay bricks. He envisions the bricks being formed in part by the aggregation of human touch — the thumbprints of community members or impressions from the eventual users of a space. The workshop was also a hands-on introduction to clay for Melissa Rivers of Selldorf Architects in New York City. Her goal was to get closer to a material of increasing interest to Selldorf, noted for its use of custom-formed, glazed terracotta façade panels in Manhattan’s 10 Bond Street. “It’s about knowing what’s possible and taking that back for application to the surface of our buildings,” she said.

ABOVE: Participants in the 2016 Architectural Cereamic Assemblies Workshop mold, press and sculpt clay into bioclimatic facade components. The claystorming sessions were held in Hayes Hall’s new attic studios.

Khan, who has led the school’s multi-year collaboration with Boston Valley on digital fabrication and design in terra cotta, says emerging technologies present opportunities to aggregate and network assemblies to the scale of the façade. The more than two dozen participants also included ceramacists from across Europe as well as representatives of Morphosis; Walter P. Moore (NYC); AECOM; Woodbury University; Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley; San Jose State; and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. In addition to Boston Valley and the School of Architecture and Planning, ACAW co-sponsors were Alfred University’s New York State College of Ceramics and Data Clay.

B/a+p Magazine 2016-2017  

A publication of the Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo, the B/a+p Magazine celebrates our impact around the...

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