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Great architecture marries function with aesthetics. Often, the expression of this negotiation between form and use plays out in materials, the many assemblies and combinations that define what we experience. Terracotta is a clay-based ceramic that can be glazed and has been used throughout history. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that the material began gaining new architectural applications outside roofing. With varying colors and textures depending on the type of clay, terracotta is now produced in a vast array of shapes, styles and varieties.
Shildan has become known for its rainscreens and terracotta products, which bring iconic and energy-efficient building façades to life. With over 300 institutional projects, they specialize in designing and engineering systems for high-performing facades. While a large majority of contemporary terracotta buildings include cultural institutions and arts facilities, the material can also be used in residential and commercial construction. Durable as it is beautiful, Shildan’s terracotta is used in contemporary architecture to redefine building envelopes in both rainscreens and cladding. Each of the following projects explores how Shildan rethinks terracotta and its application in diverse building types.