CSTD News / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

ASCER sponsors research project on "Ceramic Futures"

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers' Association (ASCER) will support a one-year research effort undertaken by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) called "Ceramic Futures." The project will explore the best ways to meet the increasing challenges of product customization, adjustment to buyers' preferences and sustainability in production.

The Ceramic Futures project, led by Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology, and Christoph Reinhart, Associate Professor of Architectural Technology, consists of three phases:

· The first phase (December 2009 to spring 2010) focuses on current design-to-manufacturing processes. Work during this time is based on in-depth case studies on sustainability manufacturing and related design and business strategies.

· The second phase (January to June 2010) includes a detailed evaluation of the performance of ceramic materials in buildings. Integral parts of this phase are prototyping and experimentation studies that investigate the customization of ceramics through robotics and other digital fabrication technologies.

· Work in the last phase (May to December 2010) develops the best ideas generated in the previous phase and seeks to complete one or more prototypes at the GSD. The prototypes showcase the merging of studies in customization and sustainability, highlighting possible improvements in the fabrication of ceramic products.

To disseminate the findings of the research project, lectures and publications are planned. With this project sponsorship, ASCER strengthens its relations with research and teaching in the field of architecture. In Spain in 2004, the Association established its Network of Ceramic Studies Departments, which includes the School of Architecture (ESARQ) at the International University of Catalonia, the School of Architecture at the University of Alicante, the School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and the School of Technical Architecture at the University Jaume I of Castellón. ASCER has also signed cooperation agreements with several interior design schools in Spain.

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