New Gargoyles for Christa McAuliffe School in Brooklyn

Article Date: November 17, 2014

Two gargoyles ready for glaze application before kiln firing.

These are just two of around 1500 replacement terra cotta stones for the repair of Christa McAuliffe Intermediate School 187 in Brooklyn.

Shaws of Darwen are supplying replacement gargoyles, along with new medallions, copings and cills as part of an ongoing refurbishment program. Our New York-based survey team worked closely with the contractor, providing drawings for the factory who slip-cast each piece ensuring consistency of materials and dimensions.

Shaws of Darwen have been producing technical ceramics since 1897, using a combination of traditional craftsmanship and the latest technology. Using only the finest virgin raw materials, combined with cutting-edge laser scanning and full-size rapid prototyping/modelling capabilities, our slip casting process offers the most versatile, economical and consistently high quality ceramic product available in the world today.


Development of Sales Organisation in Canada

Article Date: October 23, 2014

In another demonstration of their increasing presence and commitment to the North American market, Architectural Terra Cotta producer, Shaws of Darwen, announced today the appointment of Marc Cote as their representative in the Canadian Province of Quebec.  Phil Hoad will continue to represent Shaws in all other Canadian provinces.

Marc is a fifth generation mason and has worked in various capacities on some of Canada’s most notable heritage buildings for the last 35 years.  In addition to his work with Shaws, Marc will continue to function as the owner of MGC Heritage Masonry Inc.

“We are ecstatic that Marc has joined our team,”

“His commitment to the preservation and restoration community is deep and well respected. Marc’s technical expertise in the area of masonry restoration will be a huge benefit to all levels in the preservation community.”

said Jim Anderson, Director of North American Operations at Shaws.

Marc can be reached at (613) 601-0037, or


More information about Shaws including contact information for all representatives can be found at

Simpson’s Farm

Article Date: August 15, 2014

Structural work has completed on “A House for Essex”, the holiday home designed by British artist Grayson Perry and London architecture firm FAT for Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture project.

Scaffolding has now come down to reveal a house with a facade clad in ceramic terracotta tiles and a four-part roof topped with large cast-aluminium sculptures by Perry and FAT.

More than 2,000 bespoke glazed terracotta tiles were cast from originals by Perry for the outside of the building by specialist firm Shaws of Darwen. Copper alloy panels were used to create the standing seam roof.

“The exterior of the house responds to this contemporary romantic landscape, forming something that is both ancient and modern, archetypal and imbued with narrative,” said architect Charles Holland of FAT when the plans were unveiled. “It is a hybrid building, part house and part gallery.”

The design for the building, which overlooks the Stour Estuary in Essex, was inspired by eccentric houses across England, as well as fairytales and pilgrimage chapels.

“The idea behind this project relates to buildings put up as memorials to loved ones, to follies, to eccentric home-built structures, to shrines, lighthouses and fairytales,” explained Perry. “There are much loved buildings all over the county and the country built in the same spirit.”

“It’s amazing to see what Grayson and FAT have achieved, pushing the boundaries of our glazed terracotta further. We have a large and developing portfolio of amazing faience facades, and it’s very satisfying once again to see an artist achieve his creative vision through our materials and process“ said Jon Wilson, Commercial Director at Shaws of Darwen, upon seeing the completed façade.

Simpsons Farm

10 New Burlington Street, London

Article Date: August 15, 2014

Shaws recently completed the supply of 2400 striking glazed terracotta tiles for the magnificent development at 10 New Burlington Street, London.

Architects Alfred Hall Monaghan Morris, along with main contractor Mace, are developing two new blocks on Regents Street, for the Crown Estate. This is one of London’s most prestigious shopping streets and will provide superior retail and office accommodation.

A defining element of this project is the clever mix of striking contemporary architecture with the sympathetic preservation of Regent Street’s historic character. This is seen to stunning effect in the use of external and internal faience (glazed terracotta) cladding, all undertaken by Shaws of Darwen and installation contractor Szerelmey.

The design and installation of the terracotta cladding is of particular interest. The Burlington Mews façade consists of 400 one meter tall vertical, cream faience tiles fixed with a 9mm horizontal joint and 12mm vertical joint, pointed with white grout. The effect is striking and contemporary. Tiles of the same dimensions have been used internally to line the lift lobbies and atrium walls from levels 2-6, comprising a further 2000 faience units.

The tiles are a magnificent blue/green, the colour being individually developed by Shaws technical laboratory to the architects vision. Shaws design team worked closely with Szerelmey who had designed an open jointed fixing system for this project, painting the concrete backing structure black. From a distance the black shows through the joints between each glazed tile producing an unusual grid effect.

New Laboratory

Article Date: August 15, 2014

2014 saw the opening of the new colour matching laboratory at Shaws of Darwen, as part of the development and expansion in production capability – particularly of terracotta for new construction projects rather than restoration. Equipped with all the latest technology, Shaws are at the forefront of radical glazes and chemistry for todays’ demanding yet creative applications of ceramic technology. Though we have a library of literally thousands of colours and textures, we always enjoy developing terracotta glazes specifically to each individual project, giving the architect freedom of creativity and design and to have a truly unique finish to the building façade.

We always recommend a trip to our factory to see the process, the library of colours, our technical team and importantly, our new glaze development laboratory.

York Art Gallery

Article Date: August 15, 2014

York Art Gallery is undergoing a major redevelopment which will increase the gallery’s display space by 60 per cent and will now be able to host large exhibitions of international quality. The work will also create a new urban pedestrian route that flows from York Minster through the heart of the building, opening up the ‘Secret Gallery’ which has been locked off for many years. This will become the centre for the British Studio Ceramics, showcasing works from the world’s most expensive and representative collection of modern ceramics.

An additional new entrance to the gallery will be created at the back of the building, leading down from the new first floor gallery into a newly-opened up section of the Museum Gardens, which will be developed into a public green space for fun and outdoor learning.

To link with ceramic collections and the new entrance, Ushida Findlay Architects approached Shaws of Darwen to discuss their proposals and to see what could be achieved with therracotta. Over many months the original designs developed alongside considerable glaze development and full size mock up pieces  of terracotta for submission and the approval of York Panning Office. The eventual choice being a mid blue with blue mottle, with the natural and subtle variances giving the character of this handmade ceramic terracotta.

In the meantime local contractor Simpson was chosen, their past experience on specialist projects a key the appointment. Both design teams from Simpsons and Shaws worked hand in hand to ensure the complicated terracotta shapes all could be supported and restrained to the specially built metal frame.

Later this year the building will be once again be open to the public, to see the vast transformation and the fantastic exhibition displays.

Seward HS2

Article Date: August 15, 2014

Production of the 70 large decorative flower panels for Seward High School, NY, are well underway.

These highly decorative terracotta units measure around 30 inches square, and form part of a larger restoration including 2000 terracotta pieces in this historic school located in the lower east side of Manhattan. The client is the New York Schools Construction Authority, and the specialist installer is Biltmore General Contractors.

529 Broadway

Article Date: August 15, 2014

One of our craftsmen modelling one of the many terracotta contour panels for the development of 529 Broadway in downtown Manhattan.

Todd Poisson, partner in charge at architects BKSK, worked on the design , said the 34,000-square-foot structure begins with a “reunion of old and new” where it meets the existing buildings. Here, the new facade alludes to the patterning of the 1853 Prescott Hotel that once stood on the site. As the facade progresses east across a 150-foot frontage it warps to reveal a modern curtain wall building. At the east side, 529 Broadway references the rhythm and proportions of the Prescott using a frit pattern and thin aluminum fins.

529 Broadway is clad in a warm, cream-colored, open-joint terracotta rain screen system over a glass and metal curtain wall. Shaws of Darwen is casting each of the 700 unique shapes by hand.

The design team used a variety of software, including Rhino with Grasshopper, to design the modulation of the terracotta facade. “Each floor warps at a slightly different rate to create a gradually unfolding rippling facade,” said Poisson. As the building deforms, intricately detailed spandrels turn into sun shelves that shade the glass. The spandrel pattern shifts to the underside of the horizontal fins facing Broadway.

“We wanted our new decorative pattern to be a modern interpretation derived from a decorative pattern of the cast iron lintels of the old building,” said Poisson. “We digitally-enhanced old photographs of the building and used film-making software to map it and digitally cast it to effectively create the molds for the terracotta.”


Rialto Theater

Article Date: August 10, 2014

The Jewel of Joliet – the construction of a “vaudeville movie palace” in Joliet, Illinois was the undertaking of the six Rubens brothers. With the opening of the theatre on May 24, 1926, the Royal Theatre Company leased the operation of the theatre to the Great States Theatre. Architects C. W. and George L. Rapp founded the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp Architects in 1906. Following the Rialto Square Theatre project, they continued to build ornate theatres throughout the Midwest. The Rialto Square Theatre building was another Kaiser-Ducett terracotta masterpiece. Kaiser-Ducett was also the main contractor for many of the exhibits at Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair.  The Rialto’s magnificent European architecture is the signature work of the late Eugene Romeo, a Sicilian immigrant who joined the McNulty Brothers Company of Chicago, one of the largest plastering firms in the country. A sampling of buildings in the Chicago area which bear his work include the Board of Trade, Chicago Daily News Building, Soldier Field, Merchandise Mart, Blackstone Theatre, Wrigley Building(another Shaws Terracotta customer) and the Joliet Township High School Auditorium.

The building has undergone an amazing restoration programme in recent years, and Shaws of Darwen are priveliged to be tasked with replacing almost 3000 terracotta stones to bring the building façade up to the glorious quality of the rest of the building, working alongside Bulley & Andrews Masonry Restoration, LLC. The building is covered with a highly technical and decorative 3 coloured mottled glaze on terracotta.