The potential of ceramics to produce sustainable, vernacular building elements is explored at RIBA North


‘Céramica’, an exhibition at RIBA North developed in partnership with ECAlab – the Environmental Ceramics for Architecture Laboratory – explores how ceramics can provide a low impact solution to global sustainability in the built environment. Traditional ceramic techniques, digital design and engineering processes are combined to produce meaningful and sustainable architectural elements.


Ceramics by Jo Taylor

Pre-industrial making techniques and the proliferation of technology are often seen as opposing forces, one favouring the local – the development of vernacular language and context; the other favouring global processes – optimisation and standardisation. Here, a selection of national and international ceramicists were asked to further develop optimised building screens, created using digital environmental and fabrication technology.

Artist Wendy Lawrence with tessellate wall element (ph: ECAlab)

The resulting ceramic ceilings and walls host individual vernacular languages, support heritage and local identity, and transform the preliminary engineered product into a more socially-, ethically- and environmentally-sustainable building component.

The exhibition features full-scale prototypes of light-diffusing facades and ceilings, accompanied by a film explaining the experimental design methodologies explored through the ECAlab. It is supported by the Moulding Futures Symposium, to discuss prospective scenarios for ceramics within architecture.

Translucent wall by Wendy Lawrence (ph: ECAlab)

Alongside the exhibition there will be a series of events for everyone to get involved with from curator’s tours and artist’s talks to Clay Play, an opportunity for families to come and experiment with clay and create unique decorative tiles.

RIBA North, 21 Mann Island, Liverpool Waterfront
28 October 2017 to 10 February 2018

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