Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Eduardo Benamor

Second Advisor

Lara Davis


This thesis aims to investigate the efficacy of clay in shaping double- curved surfaces. In conventional interior design practices, Glass Reinforced Gypsum (GRG) is commonly employed to craft sculptural elements on surfaces such as ceilings and walls. However, despite its efficiency, GRG is not environmentally sustainable.As an excellent material for creating indoor curved surfaces, GRG, offers the advantages of easy construction and high efficiency. However, during the demolition process, the inclusion of glass fibers makes the recycling process very complicated. It is difficult to separate these materials for recycling, which ultimately leads to a significant amount of construction waste.

Additionally, the physical production process can release harmful chemicals that may impact human health.Furthermore, the additives used to make the GRG easier to work with can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) post production, which may affect air quality. In response, this research seeks to explore the potential of clay as an eco-friendly alternative in the sustainability lab.

Clay, as a natural material, can be easily found on earth. One of the advantages found when using clay was its ability to be manipulated in terms of fluidity and softness by adding or subtracting water, which gives it more use possibilities in comparison to the liquid gypsum. viscosity GRG starts as a liquid and then cures into a solid, and clay can be manipulated as a liquid or solid, has different viscosities/plasticities which are malleable before then being fired into a solid. Clay when fired is stronger than GRG, and in addition to that requires no additives, which allows for it to be recycled easily.

Clay has played a very important role in the history of New England, influencing the economic development of the region. Most of the terrain in New England was affected by the Last Glacier Period, which resulted in the distribution of a large amount of glacial sediment, including clay. These glacial sediments are particularly common around lakes and rivers formed after glacier melting.

Secondly, the coastline of New England, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut, has vast coastal plains where sediment contains fine-grained clay.

The clay resources of New England were once an important source of raw materials for the regional pottery industry, especially in certain historical regions such as Rhode Island, where clay mining had a significant impact on the economy

GRG (plaster reinforced with glass) and clay have very similar status when they are mixed by water but due to their properties can perform very differently in usage. By comparing the performance of the two materials in efficiency, ease of operability, production process, and final aesthetic effects I hope to find if clay can be a potential replacement for GRG in building double-curved surfaces.

This study thesis is led by experimental models focused around experimenting with different examples of how clay can be used in replacement of GRG, including different potential material reinforcements such as reinforced fiber, metal mesh, Hemp rope mesh, and Plaster., Even fire clay can be strengthened itself, these methods are used to simulate the GRG process, and the double curved surface. The final experimental method chosen in this article uses clay 3D printing technology. A relatively ideal experimental method with the greatest implementational possibility was selected to simulate the ceiling shape made with GRG.

Finally we need to consider how to better apply the experimental installation method to actual projects. For example, one such issue would be the practical installation of a curved surface made of clay.

Expanding on this, future directions for research could delve into the long-term durability and sustainability aspects of clay-based surface formations, exploring how they fare in real-world applications and assessing their environmental impact over time.



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