Life of Clay

Project timeframe
1 August 2014 - 31 July 2016
Research area
Fine Art
Amount awarded
Funder ID
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Project leader: Eleanor Morgan

Funded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and led by Eleanor Morgan and Guan Lee, the research challenge of the project was to advance sustainable and site-responsive clay processes using digital technologies.

Previous research suggested that digital and robotic technologies could create more efficient forms by using less clay than traditional building materials. Our method was to combine local materials and expertise with digital technologies to create new clay forms that responded to the history of clay use in this region. The methodological approach of the project was interdisciplinary and practice-led, bringing together clay experts and makers to ensure the success and relevant application of the research.

The research insights and creative outputs comprised local clay ‘recipes’ that worked effectively with the 3D printer and over one-hundred clay objects, including bricks, tiles and screen units inspired by the site that used traditional ceramic methods in conjunction with 3D printing and digital processes. These were disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication, workshops, public talks and a touring exhibition in London and Bristol. This sharing of the research led to the architectural group, Friends and Company, using the project’s 3D clay printing technology to create floor tiles for the Victoria and Albert Museum shop. 

Photo credit: Dana Ariel.