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Aeroponic Aggregates

By Jonathan Scelsa

Research Open House 2022

Jonathan A. Scelsa
Research Assistants
Elizabeth Bobyr, MAarch ’24
Renan Teuman, MArch ’23
Madeline Mertz, MArch ’24
Dillon Marlow, MArch ‘24
Daniel Hsu, MArch ’24
Aashna Bajaj, MArch ’24
Andres Roncal, MArch ’23
Fangbo Bai, MArch ’24
Jemma Liu, MArch ’24
Yun Jou Lin, MArch ’24
Netanya Abramson, MArch ’24
Alexis Robinson, MArch ’24
Cody Davis, MArch ’24
Ishika Jain, MArch ’24
Jennifer Birkeland – Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Cornell College of Agricultural Sciences
Rachel Whitlow – Curator, the Haverstraw Brick Museum
School of Architecture, Undergraduate Architecture

Aeroponic Aggregates: Robotically-formed Bricks for Habitat Reformation includes work conducted through a research fellowship at the Consortium for Research and Robotics in 2021.

Aeroponic Aggregates is a meditation on the role of masonry construction within contemporary building culture by re-examining the volumetric nature of the brick for its capacity to sustain biological life.

close up view of a collection of cylindrical bricks, hollow in the center for vegetation growth.
Detail of the Turtle Sage Brick.

The methodology utilizes ceramic-additive manufacturing towards the production of porous volumetric bricks capable of sustaining plant-based aeroponics and small fauna.

section and elevation of proposed tower structure made of bricks.[
Each ring of the proposed prototype tower was designed with individual character based on manipulating the formal ceramic deposition process in correspondence with the vegetal species that it would support.

The deep integration of these natures serves as a critique of the post-modern application ‘sticker-brick’ and ‘green-wall’ as a commodified part of gentrification.

schematics of bricks that could house various levels of plant growth.
Aeroponic Aggregates tower developed a series of bricks which would be assembled within a cylindrical form as if discs of a greater drum column, to create a tower that could house multiple stages of growth.

The promise of this new construction is suggestive of a rebalance of our urban ecologies, while simultaneously lowering our buildings’ contribution to the urban heat island.

An above view of dome-like bricks with cavities
The Garden Snake Brick developed as a brick with a cavity that creates a thermal skin for the building, while housing the biodiversity of local garden snakes.
materials on display at the Haverstraw Brick Museum, including an artifact in front of a wall of printed exhibition materials
The resulting drawings and models were on display at the Haverstraw Brick Museum in an exhibition, which ran from December 15, 2021 to March 15, 2022 entitled “The New Brick.” The exhibition was featured alongside a historical exhibition on the 20th century technology surrounding brick making. Together these exhibitions provided a reconsideration of old material for contemporary imperatives, like the climate, while exploring the aesthetic outcomes of new robotic technology.