Cork matters: towards new applications of cork agglomerates in architecture and product design

  • YEAR
    Afonso, Filipe
    Jedenov, Kirill
    Peixoto, Alzira
    Corpuz-Mendoza, Aurora
    2016 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science and Design Assessments
    Conference Papers


This paper proposes an innovative way to interpret surface intelligence by merging both design practice and design research introducing projects in both fields of architecture and product design. Interpreting material properties of cork agglomerates allowed a new way of thinking about elementary design questions: as formulated through its physical characteristics of mechanical resistance, 100% raw material, lightness, density, impermeability. The Nuspa project utilises the material resources efficiently in its attempt to save material and thus energy. In this sense, it explores advanced computation and robotic fabrication along with the idea of total recycling of cork agglomerate waste after conception of the design products. The Nuspa design collection concept in based on the idea of tense contrast between computationally generated free forms and industrially manufactured products. The design process is a cross of the creator’s individual motivations, computational generative design, industrial optimization and functional and material requirements. The same principles are applied to the Cork façade project built in Portugal, a pioneer study on agglomerated cork envelope systems, demonstrating that industrial processes that incorporate the material properties of cork can be applied in the architectural field and specifically to the production of waste-free recyclable façade systems. The paper also discuss the possibilities of application of this material in humid subtropical climates.


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