ARC 589-001- Ceramic Techniques


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Course Details

Course No.: 22528

Department: Architecture

Semester: 2014 Spring

Location: Diefendorf – 202

Meeting Day(s): Thursday

Meeting Time: 10:00AM - 12:40PM

Faculty: Davidson

In this technical methods course, students will be introduced to basic principles of small scale ceramic fabrication in which drain molds (for slip casting) and/or press molds are used.
Through hands-on work, students will investigate and develop their own proposal for a kachel unit: a robust, three-dimensional ceramic tile used to clad Kacheloefen or tiled stoves. Field trips to the workshops of a mason and a ceramicist are planned (please have your passports and paperwork ready for a trip across the border!).
Kacheloefen, or ceramic-clad stoves, are an ancient form of highly efficient, radiant heating. The technology, which has evolved over the centuries and is known by different names from place to place, is based on thermal mass capturing heat from a periodic burning of fuel (primarily wood), and then radiating the heat at a fairly constant temperature over a long time period (often 12 hours). Archeological evidence has been found dating back as far as 5,000 BCE, of massive masonry blocks used to retain heat. A later evolution of the heating principle, better known in the architecture realm, is the Roman hypocaust system, in which the exhaust of a single fire is channeled through an extensive flue run made of masonry, which both stores and radiates the heat.
In this course, students will study the principles of the kachelofen or masonry heater and focus on its surface – the skin that is responsible for both storing and radiating heat. We will look at historic precedents and work toward the development of ceramic cladding units, or kacheln, which are both formally and technically inventive.