Application of Terracotta Cladding Panel in Modern Times

Application of Terracotta Cladding Panel in Modern Times

Terracotta cladding panel, as the material of hanging curtain wall, first appeared in Europe in 1985. The inspiration came from a European architect who worshiped the earthenware culture of Chinese Terracotta Warriors. The architect transferred the feeling into creation of building material. The unique argil texture and natural color make the architecture look similar to the art of Chinese Terracotta Warriors. Therefore, it was named Terracotta Panel.
terracotta curtain wall

The application of terracotta curtain wall was initiated from Germany. The engineer Professor Thomas Herzog put forward a tentative plan to apply the roof tile to the wall and finally invented the hanging system and terracotta panel for external wall. As a result, a factory specified in the production of terracotta panel was established. In 1985, the first project of terracotta panel was completed in Munich of Germany.

As glass curtain wall has been extensively applied in the appearance design of architectures since 1990s, avant-garde architects sought to combine luminous and modern feeling of glass with terracotta panel to form with coexistence of ancient and modern style. The trial made a great success.

The manufacturing process of terracotta panel originated from the roof tile. After the middle period of 20th century with the emergence of the concept of outer retaining structure of architecture, the light steel keel system was applied in the architecture and developed rapidly. Meanwhile, mechanical equipment for extrusion, drying the firing tended to be modernized, technicalized and automated.

The production method of terracotta panel is that the clay is matched in different mixture ratio and mixed with water. The mashed mixture is loaded into high-tonnage vacuum extruder and extruded into the mud planticle from the designed moould. The water content is evaporated by the drying equipment similar to natural air drying. And then the terracotta panel is fired in the high-temperature furnace under 1000℃.

The process with extrusion forming in wet method will not only provide terracotta “panel” but also other different shapes and specification by designing different shapes of modules. It will meet different requirements for the architecture facade. Therefore, more architects tend to customize the product shape according to their ideas. And the terracotta, which is magical, is endowed with more functions, such as sun shading, rod-type decoration and line decoration.

As a result, as a new material for curtain wall, terracotta panel is not only the cladding of cutrain wall but also the carrier for visualizing the abstract design concept of architects by bringing the architecture and art together. The terracotta rainscreen panel is the indispensable human landscape for city beautification.