word of the week: TERRA-COTTA
TERRA-COTTA: a clay-based material used to clad buildings that literally means “baked earth”. Though not as prevalent in modern building design, it used to be a popular material because it could be molded into any design imaginable. Because it’s produced through a process of baking it is also fireproof (an especially popular asset in Chicago considering our history).
Notice how terra-cotta can be either un-glazed (as on the Fisher Building to the far left) or glazed (as on the On Leong Merchants Association Building). And terra-cotta isn’t only used as building ornament as seen in the terra-cotta army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.