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Research: Bricks and Vaults

– Digital Crafts: Pavilion

  • Institute: CEPT University
  • Year: 2016
  • Location: Ahmedabad
  • Area: 9.5 x 6 x 4.5 meters
  • Project Cost: Rs.8,00,000
  • Material: PLA, Clay, Gypsum.
  • Instructors: Urvi Sheth, Shehzad Irani
  • Guided Thesis: Kriti Khanna, Shreyas Khinvasara, Avishek Das, Radhika Thacker, Aysha Fida

The project presents a craft-based construction approach to computation. The pavilion is an important stage, in an ongoing research on customising bricks and computationally generated asymmetrical timbrel vault in India. The form was generated and prototyped at scale 1:5 during SWS 2016.

There were three major challenges for this project to get built in public space. One, detail structural design, test and certification by an authorised engineer. Two, to fins... craftsmen who are skilled to built timbrel (Catalan) vaults without scaffolding and reinforcement. And three, limited funds.

An institutional collaboration between CEPT University, Hunnarshala & Karigarshala having common research interest found solution to these challenges. The detail structural design, test and reports were made based on building scale 1:1 prototype. This was physically loaded with six ton of uniformly distributed load. And for the construction, the craftsmen and students of Karigarhshala (crafts school) were trained.

The research elucidates gaps at various levels. Craft based solutions bridging these gaps establish a methodology which makes complex geometry constructible in present-day India when access to digital fabrication methods are still evolving and expensive.