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TECLA - Technology and Clay

Jumping the Species Barrier

MCA - Mario Cucinella Architects

There have always been moments in the history of architecture when there is a distinct feeling abroad that something special has happened, that a step forward is being taken, a point of no return when a momentous change is about to take place. Something learned elsewhere has crept into architectural practice, breaking the mold to introduce a new element that will later be metabolized by the system and accepted as an integral part of how the built environment is designed and generated. That is how it has always been since time immemorial, as historians and critics will tell us. But what I believe should be underlined - and seen as a mark of achievement - is that these steps forward occur with the arrival of a new technological capability frequently imported by builders from other sectors, and that only later will this new element from outside become part of mainstream thinking on how to create, alter or refine an architectural style. This is amply borne out by a fundamental text for any understanding or analysis of the history of architecture: Gottfried Semper’s Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts (originally published as Der Stil, 1860-63), which also provides a solid grounding in architectural technology. More recently in 2014, Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture, reasserted in pragmatic and even provocative tones that while architecture is made up of “Fundamentals” that evolve in a technical and technological sense, it is architects who subsequently create their own articulated discourse. The prototype presented here should be considered a real leap forward, a crossing of the species barrier. It confirms both the level of maturity reached by 3D printing technology in the construction industry and the feasibility of the circular economy as applied to architecture.
TECLA, an acronym for “Technology and Clay”, is the result of the close collaboration between WASP, an Italian...

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