Building Traditions with Digital Research
Reviewing the Brick Architecture of Raúl Hestnes Ferreira through Robotic
Rui Oliveira1, Jose Pedro Sousa2
1,2Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto + DFL/CEAU
Brick construction has a strong tectonic tradition in architecture, being used both as a structural and as an expressive material. Despite several technological innovations at the composition and production level, its application still relies on talented craftsmanship, which has some natural human limitations and has becoming harder to find in the present days.
To overcome this problem, robotic assembly technologies have been introduced in the field, opening new design and construction possibilities. In this context, this paper by Rui Oliveira and Jose Pedro Sousa intends to examine their application but from a different perspective, by examining how they can be used to connect with the traditions in brick construction.
To do so, it presents and analyses the work of Portuguese architect Raúl Hestnes Ferreira, and develops a computational design and robotic fabrication research on the topics of corner, column and dome bricks. The production of a column design at the 1:1 scale using an automated process serves to reflect on the relevance of new technologies to innovate in accordance to tradition.