The Material Processes and Systems (MaPS) group at Harvard University has been experimenting. Protoceramics is an ongoing project geared toward producing novel material formations with a special interest in tectonic performance. The project, led by professor of architectural technology program director of the Doctor of Design program Martin Bechthold, investigates the latest generation of thin, large-format ceramic tiles, which presently are largely used as interior surface finish or exterior cladding.
Asking if the material be used in a structural way, the work pursues three different material manipulations—cutting, folding, and bending—and explores the inherent opportunities of these strategies towards the production of self-supporting assemblies.
And now the work has surfaced from the laboratory and will be on display at Cevisama (International Ceramics Exhibition for Architecture, Bathroom and Kitchen Equipment, Natural Stone, Raw Materials, Glazes, Frits and Machinery)—thanks to sponsors ASCER Tile of Spain, Cevisama, and Grupo On Market. Visitors can view three large sculptural prototypes, smaller 3-D printed models, and a catalog documenting the investigation and extensive prototyping process involving Harvard University Graduate School of Design students (Felix Raspall Galli, PhD; Mariano Gomez Luque, MArch ‘13; Pablo Roquero, MArch ‘13; Kevin Hinz, MArch I; Amanda Lee, MDes; Puja Patel, MDes; Zach Seibold, MDes; Malika Singh, MDes; Tiffany Cheng, MDes; Allison Cottle, MArch) and Felix Amtsberg, representing their research partner, the Institute for Structural Design at Graz University of Technology.