From High-Gloss to Hyper-Pigmented: The New Ways Architects Are Using Terracotta Facades
Terracotta, an ancient building material once suited to adorn the Babylonians’ palaces and temples, is a buzzworthy, customizable and durable façade option. Architizer describes the long, sustainable lifecycle of this natural material; details its storied past; and offers insights on specifying a range of terracotta options in a recent feature with Christian Lehmann, Ceramic Engineer and General Manager of paneltek North America.
Lauded for both its sustainable and highly flexible design properties, terracotta offers virtually endless opportunities to create custom façades through a wide range of colors, glazed and natural finishes, and textural patterns. In recent years, Renzo Piano was one of the celebrated architects who revived it, pushing its limits in large-scale, high-profile projects. Piano’s noteworthy 1997 project, Potsdamer Square in Berlin, prominently featured a “bespoke curved terracotta façade,” Architizer explains.
“Renzo Piano’s projects were breakthrough,” says Lehmann. “The big difference was that Renzo Piano had a lot of ideas about shapes and sizes, which showcased the adaptable and geometric possibilities of architectural terracotta.”