In the 2004-2005 academic year, the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) incorporated the Ceramics Chair into the Department of Architectural Construction within UIC Barcelona School of Architecture under the direction of the architect Dr. Vicenç Sarrablo and the coordination of architects and professors Cristina Garcia-Castelao and Jordi Roviras.
This Chair was created in order to create a rapprochement, or better still, a complicity between the university and the sector which produces ceramic tiles. This involves complicity because it is a mutual exchange.
On the one hand, this Chair allows the tile industry to incorporate more technical knowledge of their product into the training of future architects, as well as the enormous aesthetic possibilities that ceramic tiles can add to the creative work of our professional group. On the other hand, this training will allow future architects to focus their proposals on the ceramic, creating innovation within existing formats or developing new applications. It is clear that architects and manufacturers needed to be brought together.
The ASCER Ceramics Chair will allow those traditionalist associations which tend to accompany the world of tiles to become diluted, and imbue this product with values associated with innovation, creativity and the avant-garde. Not on a whim, but because ceramics and its reality allow for this. There are many facets and possibilities involving ceramic tiles that are still unknown, and for that reason we believe that this initiative is an excellent opportunity to prove it.
In its effort to spread knowledge of tile manufacturing within professional sectors, ASCER, the Association of Tile Manufacturers in Spain, set up this initiative in collaboration with the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.
With an initial budget of €83,000, the Ceramics Chair was launched with the purpose of fusing the creative and innovative skills of future architects with the remarkable aesthetic and functional possibilities of this craft.
The UIC, through the School of Architecture, is the first institution to participate in this pioneering project, and is expected to soon be joined by other universities and educational bodies throughout Spain.
The project aims to provide students with a forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as eminently practical training sessions that strengthen their techniques in tile manufacturing and broaden its applications in the professional sector.
The Chair also enhances the bonds between the Spanish tile manufacturing industry and the academic/university environment, effectively fortifying a relationship that will undoubtedly enhance understanding on both sides.
To study the applications of ceramic floor tiles in architectural design more in depth.
To provide future architects with technical and practical training on ceramic materials and their aesthetic possibilities.
To introduce future architectural professionals to the business world in general, with particular attention paid to the tile and ceramics sectors.
To support research into new formats, products, and applications, encourage architects to develop new areas of interest and help manufacturers explore new markets.
To discuss projects led by prestigious and established architects and promote the new ones proposed by incoming young professionals.
To bring new technologies into the ceramics sector.
The Ceramics Chair encompasses various activities that fall under two major categories:
Elective/Option Advanced. Design with stoneware porcelain. This 50-hour course focuses on research into new formats, products, and applications.
Independent project, using both existing and newly-developed ceramic products.
Project competition, judged by a prestigious team of professional architects.
Technical lectures, in which professionals from the tile manufacturing sector talk about the specifics of their products, production techniques, latest progress, and ideas for the future.
Factory and construction-site visits, designed to expose students to works-in-progress and the world of product placement.
Tour of the Centre for Innovation and Technology in Ceramic Industrial Design (ALICER).
Conferences and round tables featuring industry professionals, construction companies and specialists in various fields linked to the tile industry (concrete, photovoltaic tiles, stone siding, etc.).
R&D Programmes to support associated individuals’ initiatives.
Proposal reviews on different applications of the tile industry (uses in plazas, pools, bathrooms and lecture halls, etc.).