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Ceramics: Turning the architectural vision into a reality

Wed 4 Dec 2019, 6.30-8pm

A renaissance in crafts has seen a renewed interest in faience as a building material, but how do we translate the vision into something that is buildable?

This event brings together the designers and engineers working on iconic projects to talk about their ambitious designs and the technical realities of working with ceramic. It is a versatile material, which can bring so much tactility and uniqueness to a building, but it also has its limitations. Understand first-hand how project teams have achieved the desired aesthetic and overcome technical challenges such as low tolerances and natural imperfections. From the alchemy of creating bespoke glazes to understanding the technical performance of a ceramic faience, this event is designed to offer practical tips and inspiring ideas for architects, developers, engineers, planners and all those interested in the journey of integrating ceramics into their practice.



  • Alexis Harrison, Arup Engineers

Alexis (Lex) is a designer and materials consultant specialising in architectural ceramics and brick. He helps architects push the creative boundaries of ‘big ceramics’ through his knowledge of the opportunities and limitations of the making process and ceramic-specific façade design. Lex will share his experiences working with artists, manufacturers and contractors to help leading architects deliver extraordinary projects across Europe.


  • Graham Longman, Make Architects

Graham has more than 18 years’ experience as an architect. He joined Make the year it was founded and has taken a leading role in key projects for the practice. Graham recently oversaw the development of London’s Rathbone Square, consisting of new homes, shops, public realm and offices, including Facebook’s new UK headquarters. Prior to joining Make, he worked at Foster + Partners.


  • Mark Walden, Szerelmey

Mark has over 42 years’ experience in the stone industry and is widely acknowledged as a leading specialist in stone, brickwork and faience. Mark was a trained stonemason and is now Head of Design at Szerelmey, leading the faience installation of both Academy House and the jade green curved passageways at Rathbone Square. Mark will share technical insights of working with ceramics and talk about the engineering required for installation. 


  • Paula Gonzalez Martinez, JRA Architects

Paula is a JRA Project Director and the Chair of the City Property Association Next Gen with ten years architectural experience, internationally. Paula will talk about the development of Academy House at the corner of Oxford Street and Poland Street, London. One of the key features Academy House is the design of distinctive dark blue “corduroy” faience elevations. Paula will explain the glaze testing process and the challenges of fixing a ceramic façade on a refurbished older building. The building won the AJ Specification Awards 2019 on the category Facades and Cladding.


  • Vanessa Norwood, Building Centre (Chair)


The event is free to attend but booking is essential. 




This event is supported by Szerelmey.

It is part of the 'Hand Held to Super Scale: Building with Ceramics’ exhibition and  public programme curated by the Building Centre exhibitions team and Fettle Studio. Supported by the Built Environment Trust.



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Building with Ceramics series