Collaboration Brings Creativity: Clay Imports And UT Austin School Of Architecture Team Up For Stunning Pool Designs

By Clay Imports

Clay Imports and the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture joined forces to bring creativity and innovation to the forefront. Students were tasked with designing public pools for the city of Austin, utilizing custom-made tiles designed by the students themselves – and brought to life by Clay Imports.

This was the work of an Advanced Design studio titled “Collective Waters” led by Associate Professor Nerea Feliz. The course was offered to a combination of architecture and interior design students both from the undergraduate and graduate programs at the school.


On the last day of the Fall 2022 semester, students proudly showcased their masterpieces, featuring real, one-of-a-kind tiles that embodied their boundless imagination and creativity at the UT School of. A panel of esteemed architects and design experts from across the nation and Canada were in attendance to evaluate their projects and offer constructive criticism.


The collaboration allowed students to gain hands-on experience in tile design. The collaboration between UT and Clay Imports not only benefited the students but also helped to promote the tile industry to a new generation of architects and raise awareness about the importance of sophisticated design in public spaces.


The students at the School of Architecture had a brief field trip to the Clay Imports ATX studio. CEO and UT Alumni Nick Barreiro led the discussion about natural materials, glazing techniques, and technical specifications. Students received unfiltered information about what Clay Imports knows and does best—and the option to have Clay Imports develop their new class materials: custom tiles!

The experience opened their eyes to the limitless potential of this building material. According to design student, Sebastian Bartlett, “I had never used ceramic or tile in any projects before, but after this it has quickly become my favorite material by far.” This shift in perception highlights the transformative power of hands-on learning and the impact that collaboration with industry experts can have on the next generation of designers and architects.

Rendering of a possible public pool in Austin using clay imports tile
Lido by Ella Wathne, Marija Ivic, and Michelle Franks


The versatility and near-limitless customization offered by ceramics left a lasting impression on the students. They got the opportunity to infuse their designs with their own unique touch and style. The students' designs were actually brought to life as the tiles they created were produced and became tangible objects in their hands, adding to the excitement and awe of their creations.

The use of tiles and ceramics elevated the creativity and functionality of the pool designs, and many students found that it had become their preferred building material. The collaboration not only brought their designs to fruition, but also opened up a wealth of design possibilities for the students, inspiring them to push the boundaries of their imagination.


Partnerships between companies and educational institutions are crucial in fostering creativity, innovation, and growth. The collaboration between Clay Imports and the University of Texas at Austin was a prime example of this, providing students with hands-on experience, and exposing them to real-world design opportunities. This type of partnership not only benefits the students but also the organizations involved, helping to promote the industry and bring new and exciting ideas to the table.


The end result of the collaboration was a series of stunning and functional pool designs, creating a harmonious and rejuvenating environment for both residents and visitors. The partnership between Clay Imports Tile and the University of Texas at Austin proved to be a resounding success, inspiring further creativity and innovation in the field of design.

Rendering of a possible public pool in Austin using clay imports tile
Lido by Ella Wathne, Marija Ivic, and Michelle Franks


The continuation of this collaboration will ensure that these ideals will continue to thrive and evolve in the years to come. Special thanks to Associate Professor Nerea Feliz Arrizabalaga and the UT School of Architecture for making this project possible!