Combinatorics of local materials in the example of peat and oilshale ash

by Märten Peterson from Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia
Tutored by: Martin Melioranski, Renee Puusepp

Author comments:

The current thesis is a research on new construction material that has not been studied before. It consists two materials that are very distinguishing to the region where the author resides: peat and oilshale ash. Both of the materials can clearly be seen from satellite images. The author tried to form a fresh angle to view critical regionalism with the help of digital materiality while using local materials.
The research was partly made with the help of material scientist from another universities. Lots of tests were carried out by the author autonomously. These tests form a large and vital part of the master thesis as it is the base information from where further concepts are derived. The main focus is on the part that the author calls structure heuristics. It consists many unseen solutions and adapts necessary information from other scientific works. The author is critical about conventional architecture and tries to find alternative solutions. Troughout the process, the author stands for environmentally friendly solutions in all steps of construction. For example, the text consisted a research on natural hydroisolation materials.
The final project is a proof of concept – all the structural tehniques were applied. The theme of it came as a logical continuation of dealing with locality. In addition, the chosen context of bat shelter /chiroptorium/ suits the developed heuristics in all aspects.Developed tehniques are universal and could be applied in other context as well.

Tutor comments:

The author has shown perseverance, commitment to the effort and technical grasp about the topic throughout the whole studio. The topic of mixing natural and processed substances to form a new construction material is very necessary and targeting actual problems in the region and in the global context.
The author has set the goal to apply local materials with the latest architectural innovative knowledge in a local context while seeking balance with the environment. Technical skills – from knowledge and experience in 3D printing all the way to industrial robotics – has given the author an advantage to achieve great architectural and engineering results. During the whole process, the author has shown enthusiasm and smart solutions in developing the substance, involving material scientists from other universities to make it even a more fruitful pursuit. At the same time, in addition to the aforementioned, the author has committed a considerable amount of time to address the structural logic of his new construction material, in order to carry out stability and strength tests with self-made elements in both physical and digital environments.
The graphical and visual results, next to the text of the thesis, have great integrity and visual impact.We have recommended this thesis to both different scientific and research and development competitions, as it could give this thesis’s topic even a greater influence in achieving a positive effect on the construction sphere at a larger scale.

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