Tectonic Tessellation

Harvard Graduate School of Design



Martin Bechthold



Matías Imbern

Felix Raspall

Qi Su


YEAR 2011



Structural surfaces are extremely efficient in the use of materials and have a unique expressive quality. However, complicated manufacturing involving expensive formworks, excessive waste and intensive hand-labor, turned into major limitation as labor cost augmented, environmental issues became evident and craft skills diminished. Today, digital tools for design and fabrication, allowing fast and precise study of complex-form structures and automation of construction and assembly, may give new light to structural surfaces. This research proposes a construction process for ceramic shells that reduces the requirements of formworks, on-site work and waste production. The process involves a two-step fabrication including off-site panel manufacturing and on-site assembly. Construction system consists of two interlocking triangular ceramic pieces that provide compression resistance and a delicate inner surface finish, embedded in a thin reinforced concrete layer.