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Martin Bechthold
Leire Asensio-Villoria
Jared Friedman
Juan Pablo Ugarte
Sarah Norman

Extruded Ceramic: Tessellated Wall II

The tessellated wall explores the design space of a novel ceramic customization strategy developed by researchers and students at the Graduate School of Design. The technique involves robotically wire-cutting soft clay extrusions that are routinely produced in the industrial context. The robotic technique allows to limit production setups to a single extrusion die, and permits to customize the form of the ceramic modules with minimal additional cost.

The tessellated wall investigates the design space of this approach with a module design that features interlocking, ornamental patterns which allow for novel structural use of ceramic blocks in planar, folding and curved wall assemblies. The modules measure approximately 35 cm in length, are all based on the same extrusion die, and are designed for a state of the art industrial extrusion line. Robotic manipulators can cut be integrated into the production system to trim off the end surfaces at over 100 different angles, thus develop a unique three-dimensional expression, control views and light as well as address different structural needs in the wall. The modules can be bonded with cement for permanent installations. For the planned construction of the tessellated wall space at the 2016 Cevisama in Valencia, Spain, the units will be dry stacked and clipped together for easy assembly and disassembly.

About The Designer

Martin Bechthold is co-director of the Doctor of Design Program, director of the Material Processes and Systems Group, and was recently appointed Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. His current research focuses on integrating robotic technology into fabrication and construction processes, developing advanced material systems in collaboration with industry partners and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

Bechthold received a Diplom-Ingenieur degree in architecture from the Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany, and a D.Des degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is a registered architect in Germany and has practiced in London, Paris, and Hamburg. During this period he was associated with firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Santiago Calatrava and von Gerkan, Marg & Partner.

Leire Asensio-Villoria is a registered architect in Spain and studied architecture at the ETSASS and the Architectural Association. Asensio-Villoria was a design studio instructor in graduate design school at AA from 2004 to 2007 and a Visiting Lecturer in Architecture at Cornell from 2006 to 2010. Professionally, Asensio-Villoria has over 10 years of professional experience and has worked at a number of architectural practices in the United Kingdom and Spain including Zaha Hadid Architects, Torres Nadal Arquitectos as well as Allies and Morrison Architects & Arup. In 2002, Asensio-Villoria, together with David Mah, founded asensio_mah, a multidisciplinary design collaborative active in the design of architecture, landscape design and master planning. 

Jared Friedman is an architect and recent graduate from the M.Des (2015) program within the technology concentration, and is currently working in the Material Processes and Systems Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has a bachelor's degree in architecture from Carnegie Mellon University (2010), and has worked in a diverse range of architecture and construction practices in both the US and China. Much of his academic and professional work has focused on digital fabrication, material studies, and computational design techniques. Recent research projects of his have focused on automating the design of custom space frame assemblies and applying heat exchanger design strategies to building envelopes. Jared's work engages the reciprocal relationships between design ideas, material use, fabrication, and assembly methods.

Juan Pablo Ugarte is a Chilean licensed architect who holds an M.Arch from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His areas of expertise includes digital design and fabrication, and his research interests lie at the intersection of digital culture and traditional crafts. His professional experience at the award-winning gt2p Studio (Chile) allowed him to develop projects that received international recognition for their contribution to digital design and were exhibited in the world’s most important international design fairs. Juan Pablo has been accepted into the D.Des program at the Harvard GSD, where he expects to contribute to the field of architecture by developing architectural production workflows that contest the unidirectional, hierarchical dependencies between design and fabrication by incorporating human-mediated, material-centric design processes.