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Fettle Studio

Porous Ceramics


Thesis Tutor for Bio-Itegrated Design, Bartlett UCL: Lydia Johnson
Fellow superviser & course co-leader: Brenda Parker
Student & author: Madeline Maker



Low-Tech Macroporous Ceramics as Scaffolds for Vascular Plant Growth, by Madeline Maker

Abstract

This thesis explores the potential materiality of an urban plant substrate. The aim of these material studies is to bridge the gap between selecting species for successful urban colonization and designing structures to support them. A successful material could then be formed into tessellating vessels and articulated into various structures. Goals for this material are outlined, including ability to catch seeds, physically support plant growth, and direct water and nutrients to plant roots. Based on these goals, cellular solids with
an interconnected pore structure are established as a potential class of materials that could act as bioreceptive scaffolds capable of supporting vascular plant growth in this context.

Porous ceramics are a subset of this class of materials and various industrial manufacturing methods are explored and evaluated for their potential to be develope into low-tech production methods. Six different low-tech production methods are presented based on this research and tested. The most successful methods are developed further and tested in three different clay types: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

A summary of the results is discussed for each method, and broader conclusions are drawn about the potential for each method in the proposed design project. Finally, a comparison of all methods culminates with statements about which methods could contribute most to the design and in what ways. Future intentions are stated, include which methods or recipes will be explored and developed further.

(All photographs courtesy of Madeline Maker)




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