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Beyond Brick: Innovating In-situ Clay

Part 2 Project 2021
Sean Robertson
University of Johannesburg | South Africa
Clay is one of the oldest and most durable construction materials known to man, predominantly taking the form of a brick. The brick, however, is just one form of working with clay. This project aims to look beyond the brick and change the way clay is used in building by innovating the material itself and the method of using it. In contrast to prefabricated brick, on-site clay will be extruded into interlocking forms that will be layered, one on top of the other, while the clay is still wet without mortar, these layers dry in place and on site.

The project explores an intervention in the informal settlement of Diepsloot, a low lying area with a river running through its centre that is prone to flash floods. The project explores strategies of using clay extrusion as a means to incrementally upgrade dwellings as well as explores how excavation of soil (clay) can be used as a strategy for flood mitigation in order to radically reduce the damage caused by the floods.

The tools and techniques needed to build with clay extrusions will be detailed and illustrated in a manual titled 'Building with clay extrusions'. This manual serves as a how to guide for building with clay extrusions.

Sean Robertson


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