Our collaborators at UC Berkeley (Ronald Rael) and his students have been producing some most amazing 3DP ceramic objects. Rael’s interest in 3DP ceramics comes from a keen interest in “Earth Architecture” ideas.
“In 2008 Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of California completed his first book, Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press), which presented the most widely used building material on the planet—earth (soil, clay, gravel and sand)—as relevant to contemporary and modern architecture and disproving preconceptions that it is a fragile material in use only in poorer, developing nations. In the book’s afterward, he posits a future scenario for the material—one that employs Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) processes. While it is commonly considered that digital manufacturing and earthen architecture exist at opposing ends of the technological spectrum, his research bridges the wide gap that exists between non-industrial, industrial and digital modes of production expanding on the benefits of each.
Because the inherent nature of 3D printing opens new possibilities for shaping materials, the process of 3D printing ceramics reshapes the way we think about architectural building components. Digital materiality, a term coined by Italian and Swiss architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, describes materiality increasingly enriched with digital characteristics where data, material, programming and construction are interwoven and Rael’s research seeks to exploit this potential.
Rael’s research opens the doors to the production of geomemetic architectural components that are weather proof, solar responsive, store or filter water, hold plant life, contain embedded technologies, create insulation barriers between interior and exterior surfaces, dissipate seismic forces and many other possibilities offered by this nascent and potent process.”
Here’s a related picture.