Ceramic Architectures is a digital platform whose aim is to develop a database specialized in building works where ceramics are used as a main material in the design. The platform is aimed at technicians, students and researchers in the field of architecture and design, and was conceived as a dynamic channel of knowledge transfer between the productive and professional sectors to provide a solid basis of knowledge on the ceramics products used in architecture.
The history of architecture is inevitably linked to the ceramic covering sector, which has become ever more specialized over time. Far from its evolution being over, it seems to be going through a technological and creative renewal. Technological because it is one of the most agile industries in adopting new production systems applied to the manufacturing of avant-garde ceramic products, and creative because of the extraordinary results obtained from the industry’s close cooperation with architects, artists and craftsmen.
Ceramic’s original soft nature, which is hardened in subsequent processes, is one of its most attractive qualities, as its technical and formal features can all be manipulated. This distinctive feature makes it one of the best materials for reprocessing, which explains the current interest shown in it by many professionals.
The need for innovating architecture able to meet current social, economic and environmental challenges has opened a new phase, where associating the latest technology to processes inherited from tradition is key. Given the fact that most professionals are not familiar with new ceramics materials, Ceramic Architectures was created with the aim of providing users with a solid knowledge base of the ceramic coverings used in construction.
The information is structured as follows and aimed at technicians, students and researchers in the field of architecture and design:
Works. Dynamic catalogue of building projects in which ceramics is used as a configuration element.
Fundamentals. Section with fixed content that describes the manufacture and classification of ceramics products.
Participate. Section in which the users’ interactive participation is requested by the sending in of projects.
About. Section providing information on the contents of the digital platform and who it is aimed at.
Ceramic Architectures is an initiative linked to a research project carried out by the Ceramics Chair of Valencia that studies the links between ceramic materials and architecture. It analyses the technologies used in manufacturing processes and the chosen construction systems by the ceramic coverings in their multiple applications.
The Ceramics Chair of Valencia, affiliated to the School of Architecture, was created as a result of the agreement reached between the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER). Its aim is to promote new ways of innovating, developing and disseminating ceramic materials by carrying out teacher training programs, research and the transfer of knowledge to the production sector.
ASCER is the association responsible for promoting the Spanish ceramics industry, a world leading productive sector in innovation, technology and design that believes in sustainability and commitment to social well-being. ASCER is able to respond with the highest quality and efficiency to any challenge presented to it.
To carry out all of this, in 2009 ASCER created a network made up of the Ceramics Chairs at the Schools of Architecture of the University of Alicante, the International University of Catalonia, the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, and at the School of Building Engineering of the University Jaume I of Castellon. Motivated by the presence of the Spanish ceramics industry in the international sphere, ASCER extended its network of Ceramics Chairs, building partnerships with the Graduate School of Design of the University of Harvard, the Technical University of Darmstadt and the School of Architecture of the University of Liverpool.
This chapter, with dynamic content, includes a series of international projects that use ceramics as a main material in their configuration and which have been selected due to their quality and interest. The aim of this chapter is to build a specialized database. The period under study goes from the present back to the end of the 19th century, when the industrialized production processes that make up the current basis of ceramics technology were developed.
Depending on the users’ specific interest, a series of search fields have been set up for the data on the work (author, use, location and date) and on the ceramic material (position, forming, surface treatment and product.) This chapter has been structured into five sections, allowing the user to study the chosen project in a clear and agile way:
Images. Photography that shows the relation between architecture and ceramics.
Plans. Outlines and drawings that make it possible to understand and analyze the project.
Details. Information regarding the specific ceramics, the laying pattern and the manufacture process of the pieces.
Map. Interactive map of the location of the project in relation to the rest of the works.
+ Info. Specific information regarding the piece and the technical details of the project.
Using language that is accessible to non-specialized users, this fixed content chapter describes the main industrial processes used to manufacture ceramics and their classification. It offers brief, clear and precise information, inviting you to discover more about this material, and assisting technicians to define its technical features.
To access content faster, the chapter’s information is structured according to the different phases of the production process:
Raw materials. List of the main components used and their corresponding grinding processes.
Forming. Description of the moulding techniques used by the ceramics industry in the configuration of products.
Surface treatment. Selection of the most common procedures used to decorate pieces.
Firing. Description of the material’s hardening process and the type of ovens used.
Products. Classification of the ceramic coverings according to their technical and functional characteristics.
Ceramic Architectures welcomes the voluntary involvement of professionals, students and researchers of the field of architecture and design who are willing to provide projects or information on projects in which ceramics is the main material.
Participants are required to complete a series of fields about the project that they wish to share, so as to ensure that the correct information on the project is provided. This information will then be evaluated by an international Scientific and Technical Committee, whose role is to guarantee the quality of the platform’s content and to determine a project’s suitability for publication, following the criteria of excellence and applied technology.
The Scientific and Technical Committee is comprised by the directors of the different Ceramics Chairs, in cooperation with the Institute of Ceramics Technology of Castellon:
Jesús Aparicio. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Martin Bechthold. Harvard University, USA
Eduardo De Miguel. Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
Víctor Echarri. Universidad de Alicante, Spain
Manfred Hegger. Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
Javier Mira. Instituto Tecnológico de la Cerámica, Spain
Ángel Pitarch. Universitat Jaume I, Spain
Vicente Sarrablo. Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain
Rosa Urbano. University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Given that this is a not for profit website without advertising that is linked to a research project at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the sending in of content will entail the free transfer of its public communication rights to the Ceramic Architectures digital platform, for its later diffusion.
Editor. Eduardo De Miguel. Director of the Ceramics Chair of Valencia
Editorial team. Albert Brenchat, Víctor Corell, Eva Raga, Javier Sorlí
Graphic design. BOSCO
Website programming. NECTAR
Technical assistance. Information and Communications Systems Dept at the Polytechnic University of Valencia
Cooperation. Vicente Corell, Rafael López, Carla Sentieri and José Mª Urzelai, lecturers at the Projects Department in the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, and Enrique Fernández-Vivancos, lecturer at the Department of Graphic Expression, Projects and Urbanism of the School of Technical Education of the University CEU Cardenal Herrera Valencia.
Ceramic Architectures is grateful to all the students at the Ceramics Chair of Valencia for their contribution, as the work carried out over the last few years has led to the creation of this digital platform, and also to the Institute of Ceramics Technology of Castellon for their advice on the preparation of the content in the Fundamentals section.