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Automated Architecture and Manufacturing 0

Posted on 29, September 2017

in Category Blog



China has an extremely long history of using terra cotta in art and in building. So it makes sense that the University of Hong Kong architecture program should try an experiment in using terra cotta in combination with new trends in manufacturing.

A robotic arm was in charge of printing out bricks for the structure. It took two or three minutes to make each brick with additive manufacturing (3-d printing). That may not be the most efficient way to make bricks right now. But there is a good reason for using this method. The structure was designed before the bricks were made, and the precise requirements for each brick were calculated.

This means that the building materials are precisely calibrated to meet the needs of the specific space they’ll occupy. Differences include the shape, the degree of opacity to light, and the size. Altogether, the pavilion required 2,000 bricks.

However, the perfect design means that it required no mortar. Wooden framing was used, but otherwise the structure is made entirely of terra cotta.

The pavilion is just about 12 feet tall and was made in a few weeks by students and faculty. It’s on display indoors and there are no plans at the moment to follow up with commercial structures. The point is to open conversations about new ways of manufacturing.

Manufacturing now is limited only by human creativity.

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