Dutch custom By fusing computational design and manufacture with conventional ceramics skill, Studio RAP has finished a revolutionary and sculptural assemblage named New Delft Blue with 3D printed ceramic tiles. An appropriately picturesque ancient city in the western Netherlands, noted for its manufacturing of blue and white pottery, serves as the backdrop for this project, which serves as the entryway of a residential construction block. The design team’s modern take on the technique involves making one-of-a-kind modules out of 3D-printed clay, which, when assembled, form a vaulted surface with intricate, morphing patterns. A desire to investigate ceramic decoration’s potential in modern architecture inspired this work.
As part of Nieuw Delft’s massive urban renewal project, the PoortMeesters apartment complex has a verdant public courtyard enclosed by two massive entry gates. The gates span a width of four metres, a height of eight metres, and a depth of twelve metres over a spacious public stairwell. These city gates call back to Delft’s history as a mediaeval trading centre and offer passers-by a picture of the city’s pleasant lifestyle. Traditional Delft Blue ceramic plates served as inspiration for the New Delft Blue gates.
The building’s relationship to Delft Blue porcelain and the canals in the area are reflected in the deep blue 3D printed ceramic tiles, which also creates an attractive contrast with the building’s brickwork, which has a more earthy tone. By combining all of these elements, the project expresses Delft’s distinct character in a contemporary manner. It does this by making a reference to Delft’s past via blue 3D printed ceramic tiles that are algorithmically produced and inspired by nature. Thus, by referencing Delft as the city of knowledge through cutting-edge design and 3D printing technology.
A Delve into the 3D Printed Ceramic Tiles Delft Blue Arches
The hallway has a width of about 4 metres (13 feet), a height of about 8 metres (26 feet), and a depth of about 12 metres (39 feet), and it is tiled with a total of around 3,000 individual 3D printed ceramic tiles. Studio RAP 3D printed the tiles using an industrial robotic arm fitted with a specialised extruder to layer upon layer extrude a clay-based mixture in accordance with a design. Producing one tile takes around 15 minutes and measured 30 by 40 by 7 cm (11 by 15 by 2.7 in). After being crafted, they were glazed and fired to achieve a ceramic sheen before being shipped to the construction site for installation.
As they work within the limits imposed by the enormous, curved surface’s manufacturing process, the architects display their experiments in computational design. The 3D printed ceramic tiles design cleverly incorporates constraints like maximum overhang, width, height, depth, shrinkage, and internal support systems. The resulting arrangement of curving forms is reminiscent of an abstract artwork in three dimensions. These tiles are glazed in a transparent blue that moves like music over the surface. By using a light blue paint to highlight the peaks, the concave valleys resound with a deeper blue glaze. This harmony of colours creates smooth transitions, much like the city’s canals and deep blue porcelains, which stand out more against the brickwork’s muted tones.
3D printing allowed Studio RAP to design and produce almost 3,000 3D printed ceramic tiles covering the two gates. The tiles’ geometry was developed while considering manufacturing restrictions such as maximum overhang, breadth, height, depth, shrinkage, and internal support structure using an algorithmic method to 3D pattern creation.
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