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Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 10:40 PM
Tangtastic Tangtastic is offline
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Ceramic cladding?


I'm a architecture student and for my final project I'm intending to use ceramic tiles for my cladding. I can't find much useful information on the internet regarding it and wondered if anyone could help.

I'm particularly interested in how ceramic cladding wears and ages; I'd assume that the colour would dull over time but could someone confirm and if possible, provide any additional information that might be relevant.

I'd be extremely grateful for any useful books-to-buy tips or internet links that might be handy. If there's anything you think I should know please do mention it.

Thanks in advance,

(Desperate post grad architecture student)
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 4:56 AM
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From my understanding one of the benefits to ceramics/glazed terra cotta is that it stays clean, and that the color doesn't fade.

I don't have anything more to add than that unfortunately. Manufacturer's websites will probably be helpful, and if they're not you can probably just directly e-mail a manufacturer asking your questions.

Another place to look might be Sauerbruch and Hutton, since they like to use terra cotta.

I don't think I kept it that way in the end, but at one point in a school project I had walls that were part concrete and part terra cotta. The terra cotta's color was to be matched to the concrete, and over time the concrete would get dirty and the terra cotta wouldn't, acting as a register to compare the concrete staining against. The studio was about "weather" (not my decision lol). Later I changed it to a copper and concrete facade, with the same materials on the inside, with the contrast in weathering happening between the inside and outside.

But anyway. Yeah, I think there's a lot to like about terra cotta, and I think it should be used more.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2012, 6:57 PM
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You might look up information on glazed bricks, or "bakery bricks". They're a St. Louis institution from the early 20th century (and likely a little earlier too). These 100-year-old beauties still look new:

Source: St. Louis Brick

MO-St Louis - Bracket on Locust by plasticfootball, on Flickr

I know it's not 100% ceramic, but it's similar and IMO ceramic tiles should weather roughly in the same manner.

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Old Posted Apr 19, 2012, 12:54 AM
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They are used all over Asia on apartment buildings, but I've never personally specified it for a project.

Gladding McBean in Lincoln, CA is a great resource for terra-cotta info. A search for Pewabic Tiles from Michigan might also yield some results (Guardian Building lobby and entry in Detroit for example).
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2012, 12:11 PM
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The Barbican Centre in London is mostly concrete, but some of the buildings in the complex do have white tiles (click here for a larger version of this pic)

Iridescenti, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Al...ale_Towerr.JPG

The tiles have survived OK, but the stains in the grouting make them look a bit tired. Although the concrete buildings in the Barbican stain as well, I think the general consensus is that the concrete has aged better than the tiles (see this comment, for example)
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2012, 2:05 AM
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^^ You can do a terracotta rainscreen, in which case there's no grout that can stain - the panels are held up with clips. The appearance is much like a metal panel system, but the texture can be more earthy and there is sometimes a slight variation in the panel colors.

This one is in an unglazed terra cotta color but the range of colors is pretty wide.

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Old Posted May 2, 2012, 7:59 PM
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Saint Giles Court is a recently completed example of what is possible with a ceramic cladding


Older examples of glazed brick/terra cotta are One Worldwide Plaza and the Woolworth Building, both of which are aging nicely. They use subtle differences in the shading of the glazing to ad an illusion of extra depth to the facade.
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