1st Edition

Architectural Terra Cotta Design Concepts, Techniques and Applications

By Donald Corner, John Rowell Copyright 2022
    300 Pages 195 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 195 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    ***Winner of the 2023 BTES Book Award***

    Architectural Terra Cotta examines the evolution of terra cotta and prepares architects and builders to make new, creative uses of the timeless material. Terra cotta is among the oldest of manufactured building products, yet it has once again become a material of choice in contemporary façade design. From the walls of Babylon to high performance rainscreens, terra cotta claddings have repeatedly proven to be technically superior and aesthetically triumphant. Understanding the evolution of terra cotta prepares architects to add new, creative chapters to a rich history.

    This book describes the key attributes that recommend the use of terra cotta and explain its continuing success. The core of the book traces the many ways that terra cotta can be formed, finished and applied to buildings. These techniques demonstrate the full potential of the material, showing how its unique capabilities have been developed over time. A comprehensive inventory of recent examples, project case studies and architectural details, this book provide a basis for understanding the nature of the material and the opportunities it offers in new work.

    With over 150 color images, this volume provides a concise resource for all those considering terra cotta as a façade system: architects, façade engineers, cladding subcontractors, materials suppliers, developers and prospective clients. With inspiring examples of expressive possibility, this invaluable book will find a home with students and professionals alike interested in making rich, colorful and durable buildings.





    Chapter 1: Origins

    Chapter 2: Durability

    Chapter 3: Form and Ornament

    Methods of Forming

    Post Processing

    Developing Ornament

    Chapter 4: Color, Texture and Finish

    Color of the Clay Body

    Texture of the Surface

    Applied Finishes

    Chapter 5: High Performance

    Chapter 6: Components and Systems

    Rainscreen Panels


    Extruded Profiles

    Construction Methods

    Special Conditions

    Additional Forming Techniques

    Chapter 7: Intelligent Variation

    Chapter 8: Design Imperatives

    Chapter 9: Case Studies

    9.1 The Fitzroy, New York, NY

    9.2 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany

    Renzo Piano Building Workshop

    9.3 Central Saint Giles, London, UK

    Renzo Piano Building Workshop

    9.4 125 Deansgate, Manchester, UK

    Glenn Howells Architects

    9.5 Tykeson Hall, Eugene, Oregon

    Office 52 + Rowell Brokaw Architects


    Donald B. Corner is a practicing architect and member of the College of Distinguished Professors of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He has been recognized for research and innovative teaching in building construction and detailing.

    John Rowell is a professor of architecture and founding principal of Rowell Brokaw Architects, an award winning firm in Eugene, Oregon, USA. His practice, research and teaching focus on sustainable, high performance building solutions at a variety of scales.

    For twenty-five years, Professors Corner and Rowell have offered an integrated course in the technology and design of building enclosure at the University of Oregon.

    "The deep coverage of a material's development over time weaves in compelling stories of technical innovation and creative application in a structured format that captures the imagination and is sure to inspire future designs. The extraordinary visual quality of the photographs and drawings support the narrative to provide a highly legible exposition of the art, science and collaboration required to realize terra cotta building enclosures. Addresses both the What and the How of architecture. It shows the historical basis for this family of materials, but stands out for its thorough description of contemporary terra cotta and its application to significant global projects. The high-quality illustrations and text describe the design parameters and fabrication processes exceptionally thoroughly. This book stands out for the depth of examination of the topic. A valuable reference as well as a thorough overview of an historic material and its contemporary use. The graphic quality of the numerous details provides an exceptionally clear set of explanations and examples that will be useful to students and practitioners. The book’s inclusion of the material’s long history argues for continuity with the past in a way that should set a standard for other single-material overviews and resources." - Jury comments, BTES (Building Technology Educator's Society) book award 2023.