Brian Peters, assistant professor in Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, was selected by ARCHITECT magazine for one of its prestigious 2014 R+D Awards. ARCHITECT magazine is the leading magazine for architecture in the U.S., and the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Peters’ project, Building Bytes, was one of only six award winners selected from more than 100 entries.
Building Bytes combines a traditional building material (ceramics) with a new fabrication technique (3D printing) to rethink an ancient building component to demonstrate how 3D printers will become portable brick factories for large-scale construction. Building Bytes is an ongoing research project looking into digitally fabricated building blocks.
Peters’ technique does not rely on molds, but rather each brick is printed individually, allowing users to fabricate complex and unique brick shapes. Building Bytes offers designers and architects far more exciting and useful designs than a standard extruded brick. Printed bricks can have complex exterior surfaces, permitting interlocking or curvature of the final structure, while their internal structure can be engineered to significantly lower their weight or increase their strength at stress points for a particular build.
All the bricks were printed using a standard desktop 3D printer with a custom print head made to extrude a liquid ceramic mixture. The bricks where printed in thin layers that slowly added up to produce the final shape. Each brick required approximately 15-20 minutes to print, and after printing, the bricks were air dried for one day and then fired in a kiln.
“It is an honor to have my work selected by leading practitioners in the field of architecture and be recognized alongside leading research institutions and practices,” Peters said. “It is also exciting to help promote research into digital fabrication at Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and my Robotic Fabrication Laboratory.”
“Brian came to Kent State ready to make things and conduct research,” said William Willoughby, associate dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “His research is right at the intersection between sustainable building materials and innovative digital fabrication techniques.”
This year’s R+D Awards show how craftsmanship is evolving and thriving in the computer age, according to the magazine. The winners stood out for their potential to inject architecture with intelligence, upgrade longstanding manufacturing and construction methods, and overhaul entire streetscapes and cities.
The projects were evaluated by jurors Gerardo Salinas, Mimi Love and Bill Kreysler.
Salinas praised Peters’ reinvention of the brick as a variable module with the potential to “do mass customization in a very clever way.” Love pointed out that the result is “not an extruded piece of clay anymore, but something that can vary in all three dimensions.”
A complete list of the winners is available at www.architectmagazine.com/awards/randd-awards.
For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit www.kent.edu/caed.
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Photo of Brian Peters
Brian Peters, assistant professor in Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, was selected by ARCHITECT magazine for one of its prestigious 2014 R+D Awards.
Photo of Ceramic Bricks
These 3D printed ceramic brick prototypes were designed and created by Brian Peters, assistant professor in Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Peters’ project, Building Bytes, was selected by ARCHITECT magazine for one of its prestigious 2014 R+D Awards.