PolyBrick is an ongoing project in the Sabin Design Lab at Cornell Architecture. Originally on display at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design as part of the exhibition, “Data Clay: Digital Strategies For Parsing The Earth”. Currently on display at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum as part of “Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial”

A project by Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University
Principle Investigator: Jenny E. Sabin
Design, Research and Production: Martin Miller, Nicholas Cassab, David Rosenwasser, Jingyang Liu Leo

PolyBrick showcases the next steps in the integration of complex phenomena towards the design, production, and digital fabrication of ceramic form in the design arts and architecture. This work includes advances in digital technology, three - dimensional (3D) printing, advanced geometry, and material practices in arts, crafts, and design disciplines. PolyBrick makes use of algorithmic design techniques for the digital fabrication and production of nonstandard ceramic brick components for the mortarless assembly and installation of the first fully 3D - printed and fired ceramic brick wall. Using customized digital tools, low – cost printing materials, and component - based aggregations, our research utilizes readily available 3D printing technology to develop large - scale forms through the aggregation of interlocking component based systems. Operating within the scalar limitations of current print bed sizes, we developed and tested a set of mass - customized components with embedded local and global awareness and demonstrated that we could achieve forms much larger than previously possible. We have effectively designed a system for mortarless brick assemblies at scales beyond existing constraints of the print bed size of a large-format color printer. The production of ceramic form includes three distinct phases: greenware, bisque firing, and glaze firing. The actual clay modules in our project were directly printed using a 3D color printer. Seeking to achieve a system that required no additional adhesives or mortar, we looked to traditional wood joinery techniques as a means of interlocking adjacent ceramic PolyBricks.