light-refracting ceramic enclosure

Master's Thesis, University of Arizona (2008)


This project proposes to discover a desirable light quality through observations at twilight and then set that condition up in the design of an architectural enclosure system. Rather than dimming daylight using large expanses of darkened translucent materials such as plastic or glass, the work aims for a solution using opaque material pierced with small, solar-oriented, refractive apertures to admit and redirect a limited amount of light onto the interior surfaces of the material. When the sun and the geometry of the light containers align, light fills the aperture spaces uniformly. At other times, the enclosure admits light in a dynamic way that, by the nature of the small apertures, reveals changing light conditions and the passage of time. Structurally, this idea is imagined to be a cellular network of ceramic light containers shaped to receive light from custom cast glass apertures. Together, these cells will form a field of roof or wall enclosure within an otherwise dark space.


model of housearchitectural plan drawing of house

the tiled slip-cast ceramic enclosure admits light through small custom-cast glass apertures

light refracted through glass apertures fills the inside geometry of the ceramic cells

light detail

light performance with refractive aperture, without

geometry of the cells was dependent on the geometry of the aperture and its refractive index

coating cells with glaze, final firing in kiln

glass casting using graphite mold, finished aperture

renderings of tiling methods