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Monday, 5 September 2011

Cellular Ceramics

Juanjo Gonzalez Castellon

The use and application of free-form geometries has been a constant aspiration in the history of architecture. Nowadays, due to the appearance and development of powerful parametric tools and technologies, this aspiration has become reality. The amazing potential of these tools enables architects to produce and fabricate almost any imaginable form. The paradox lies on that, this capability to easily produce and generate complex forms, is directly related, in some of the cases, with a lack of understanding of the geometrical principles behind it. The designer doesn’t need to understand a form to produce it and, consequently, an enormous effort has to be made “a posteriori” in order to make these forms buildable and economically feasible.
On the other hand, there are many precedents in the history of architecture demonstrating that it is possible to build complex and interesting architecture by applying simple logics and smart techniques. Buildings such as La Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudí or La Atlántida Church by Eladio Dieste are good examples of it. Both buildings were designed and built without computers but with clear geometrical rules and structural understanding. In addition, both masterpieces were built in collaboration with very skilled man-power and a network of experienced fabricators. Moreover, La Sagrada Familia is a unique and paradigmatic case since its construction started by the end of the 19th century and it is still a work in progress project. Consequently, its construction process has evolved in parallel to the available tools, from crafts to digital.

Nowadays, there is a wide field to explore in order to find new methods of design where contemporary parametric tools are part of the design process. In this search, geometrical logics and principles can be applied to minimize or even avoid any translation between design and fabrication processes.
The aim of this research is to develop a form finding process by the use and application of simple geometrical rules and advanced material system in order to build a vaulted space. This structure will be the result of the fabrication and assembly of a limited amount of three-dimensional components.

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