The technology of additive manufacturing, alongside digital computation programs, has allowed for vast opportunities within the design realm. Given the exceptional benefits in the specificity and accuracy within these platforms, this process lends itself to means of production in the context of architectural customization. This project presents an integrated computational and digital fabrication processes for a custom high-performance ceramic facade system. This ten-week exploration was complete with Connie Wang and Ana Cristi Baquerizo.
The MIT Media Lab was chosen as a case study for the optimized facade because of the diversity in gallery, office & lab spaces on different floor levels along the southeastern elevation. Before and after daylight simulations were done on DIVA to draw conclusions regarding interior lighting conditions, assess required facade conditions and to determine design parameters. The resulting façade acts as a light filtration system, affecting the interior lighting condition in specific programatic spaces while reducing glare.
A 1/8th scale prototype of the facade was created to demonstrate the versatility of this facade, from being fully open to closed, tilt from one corner to another. To create this prototype, a series of extruders were developed to optimize the process of extruding clay and production. Various clay types were tested for consistency and easiness to extrude. The self-supporting nature of cones was beneficial to our method of production. By keeping the base and angle consistent, the aperture of each unit varies by adjusting the height. The cones can then be adjusted to tilt within the confines of the base for reasons such as views and glare.
Working with Brown University's Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) a Ryobi P310 caulking gun was rewired to an external control box to manually quantify the speed of the motor and in turn controlling the bead size. A reverse function was also added so we can load and unload canisters faster. For this printing process, the ABB IRB120 robotic arm was used as a 3-axis printer. In the future, the range and versatility of the robot arm can be taken advantage of.
Clay was chosen because of its existing use as a building element. Salt Dough, self drying clay and porcelain clay were some of the materials we tested. The façade prototype was extruded with CV90 clay, a RISD Ceramics department made mixture of porcelain and coarse sand. The clay is extremely easy to extrude, fires to a clean white, and becomes extremely durable.