Ací fem Atovons is a design research project about the brick industry within Valencia's Horta Nord. The first exhibition introduces the transformation processes of clay through both tangible and visual pieces, offering insight into the intricate journey of extraction, manufacturing, and construction with ceramic in this particular territory.
The quality of the substrate in the Horta Nord region of Valencia is ideal for cultivation, but also for ceramic making. People from over there saw the potential of the constructive uses of clay and used it for brick making as well as for mortars. By knitting these two elements, complex structures could be achieved ensuring durability and good aging of the building.
Brick factories appeared all over the Valencia landscape at the beginning of the XX century. Up to 14 factories were settled in Horta Nord, transforming the agricultural landscape into clay pits and dusty industries. The ceramic business was usually related to extensive orange farming, as exhausted agricultural soil was reused for ceramic making. These bricks left the factories towards cities and towns, where construction material was demanded.
Brick industries adopted the Hoffman kiln system, which allowed continuous production and energy efficiency. A circular chain reused residual heating to dry clay before baking it. Made of bricks too, these large kilns had a prominent chimney to elevate toxic gases and ensure fire combustion. Several families specialized in their construction, following accurate methods with handmade tools as well as specially shaped bricks.
The construction industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. After a building has been completed, lots of ceramic off-cuts, concrete dust, and plastic bags are usually thrown into exhausted mining pits, such as the clay ones. Although ceramic is not toxic and can be turned into dust, it usually takes up a lot of time and space. However, animals like bees and rabbits find the perfect living conditions in these post-industrial spaces.
Project: Brick industry