MAS 2019/20

Rapid Clay Formations, 2020

Project for the UIA 2020 Pavilion, Rio de Janeiro

Rapid Clay Formations originated during the second trimester of the MAS ETH DFAB that took place in Spring 2020. The project was supposed to be shown at the World Congress of Architects UIA 2020 in Rio de Janeiro in form of an undulating clay wall of approximately 21x2 meters. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the UIA 2020 did not take place as planned and a newly conceived demonstrator was eventually presented as a 1:1 prototype in Brunnen, Switzerland.

For the UIA 2020 clay wall at Casa Firjan in Rio de Janeiro, the team focused especially on the use of resourceful and energy-efficient materials as well as innovative construction methods that would allow a completely reversible fabrication system, in which the material could be reused and reassembled in another place later in time. First, the complexity of the process was encoded in a relatively light and transportable robotic arm and platform, the In- situ Fabricator, since the soft state of the clay during fabrication would not allow for elements to be prefabricated and to be added later on. Second, a material mix was developed and optimized with the main goal of reducing the amount of shrinkage and chemical cracks, while still keeping enough plasticity to ensure proper bonds between the elements, thus allowing us to reach new considerable heights.

 

Finally, the main challenge was represented by the structural design: while earthen structures usually depend on large cross-sections and heavy material masses, we aimed to minimize the amount of material to reduce the construction time, ensure a fast drying time, as well as to improve material ecology.
 

Credits:

Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich


Client: Insight Architecture, for the UIA 2020, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Collaborators: David Jenny (project lead), Coralie Ming, Nicolas Feihl, Selen Ercan Jenny, Hannes Mayer

Students Trimester 2 Project: Maria Pia Assaf, Jomana Baddad, Frederic Brisson, Yu-Hung Chiu, Rémy Clemente, Ioulios Georgiou, Mahiro Goto, Anton T Johansson, Laszlo Mangliar, Dinorah Martinez Schulte, Edurne Morales Zuniga, Fatemeh Salehi Amiri, Emmanuelle Sallin, Indra Santosa, Eliott Sounigo, Chanon Techathuvanun, Ping-Hsun Tsai

Project partner: Oxara, Insight Architecture

Industry partner: Brauchli Ziegelei AG
Support: Mike Lyrenmann and Philippe Fleischmann (Robotic Fabrication Laboratory, ETH Zurich), Andi Reusser (Institute for Building Materials, ETH Zurich), Lydia Zehnder (Institute for Geochemistry and Petrology, ETH Zurich)

Sponsors: Brauchli Ziegelei AG

Rapid Clay Formations, 2019-2020 © MAS ETH DFAB, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Photo: David Jenny

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Rapid Clay Formations, 2019-2020 © MAS ETH DFAB, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Photo: David Jenny

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Rapid Clay Formations, 2019-2020 © MAS ETH DFAB, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Photo: David Jenny

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Rapid Clay Formations, 2019-2020 © MAS ETH DFAB, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. Photo: