“Bricks to me are like faces. All of them are made of burnt mud, but they vary slightly in shape and color.” – Laurie Baker. 

Brick – a simple, common building material that we see almost everywhere around us has been in use since around 7000 BC. This timeless material has periodically been used in various ways; such as a structural member, an aesthetic element, to Accenture walls, or simply as an installment. Available in various types and colors, one of its most common forms is – Red brick housing. 

Brick wall in Flemish bond_©Source Pawel Wozniak
Brick wall in Flemish bond_©Source Pawel Wozniak

As the name suggests, Red brick housing can be defined as a structure that is made out of exposed red bricks. In this type of housing, the typical red bricks are used for construction and they are kept exposed without covering with any external coating such as plaster or paint. Red brick construction is an ancient method that has been in use for building stronger structures for ages.  

Melbork castle_©Source Diego Delso
The Roman Basilica_©Source Pudelek

A material that dates back to that of architecture itself, red brick has a history of its own. Architects nowadays use red bricks in housing projects not only for their easy availability and durability but to accentuate walls and to ‘define’ a structure in its surroundings. The material has been widely used as a sustainable product across the world.    

Example of Modern brick house_©Source Peter Bennetts
Example of Modern brick house_©Source Alice Clancy

We see red brick housing around almost every corner; and here are a few examples of red brick housing that architecturally amazed both the users and viewers:

1. Arcadia by Breathe architecture 

Arcadia is a multi-residential complex designed by Breathe architecture in collaboration with DKO architecture and Oculus. Located in Alexandria, NSW, Aradia was redesigned on land that housed the NSW Brickworks company. 

Arcadia by Breathe Architecture_©Source Tom Ross

Arcadia is a well-thought-out housing project that, in addition to being environmentally and socially sustainable, is also a reminder of the past. The designers have carefully reused nearly half a million recycled bricks paying homage to clay quarries and brick factories that have stood here in centuries past. 

The housing consists of 4 buildings accommodating four different communities. Each building in this residence is named after the Key brickmakers in the area. All four buildings have separate common spaces, productive gardens, and addresses; But one thing they all have in common is a rooftop that faces North.

External facade of Arcadia_©Source Tom Ross
Brickwork on external facade_©Source Tom Ross

Each lobby entrance has a distinct brickwork pattern. To the North and West, recycled bricks are articulated with solar shadings.

Lobby area_©Source Tom Ross
Material details in lobby_©Source Tom Ross
Brickwork details_©Source Tom Ross

“Arcadia is about community and sustainability; it’s about memory and place; acknowledging its past, present, and future,” says the designers. 

With the rooftop that covers 50% of the footprint, this project was completed in 2020 and has won 11 design and architecture awards for its use of materials, sustainability, and multiple housing.

Rooftop garden_©Source Tom Ross
Rooftop garden_©Source Tom Ross

2. Brick house, Wada by iStudio architecture 

The brick house, Wada is a farmhouse designed by iStudio architecture near Mumbai, within hills and farms. Going with the ‘organic’ design, the house ‘flows’ from the ground to the skyline in curves and dips. 

The idea of ‘fluidity’ can be seen around the house everywhere as the walls follow curves more than typical straight-angled walls. All of which lead to the central courtyard. 

Brick house Wada by iStudio Architecture_©Source AN clicks

Two massive brick and stone arches dominate the space at the house’s entrance. Through brick screening, light falls on the central water body, creating a small play of light. All the rooms are planned as per the viewing points. Cross ventilation and climatology are considered when planning openings.  

Entrance lobby_©Source AN clicks
Pond at the Entrance_©Source AN clicks
Brickwork details_©Source AN clicks
Brickwork details_©Source AN clicks

Inspired by Ar. Laurie Baker, a play in terms of brick use is experienced throughout the house. Common principles from Ar. Laurie Baker’s designs, such as a rat-trap bond, filler slabs, brick jalis, and use of local materials make the house not only aesthetically pleasing but also cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Internal details_©Source AN clicks
Porch and garden_©Source AN clicks

3. Brick house by Architecture Paradigm

This house located in Mysuru, India is designed by the architect firm ‘Architectural paradigm.’ The architect designed the plan in an L-shape form, segregating the private and public spaces. The shorter arm (East-West direction) houses public spaces while the long arm (North-South direction) over two levels houses the private spaces 

Brick house by Architecture Paradigm_©Source Anand Jaju
Main entrance_©Source Anand Jaju

The basic idea of the design is “chance encounter”; the house has a private courtyard, around which the house functions, and an outdoor space that also serves as a pleasure garden. The different scales of the spaces and the use of different materials play with the visual impact on the user. The architects have carefully used the two different materials throughout the structure to create a visual break.

Courtyard_©Source Anand Jaju
Dining area_©Source Anand Jaju

Brick walls, floors, screens, and vaults define the spaces and give a sense of warmth, while privacy screens are made of structural steel.

Brickwork details in courtyard_©Source Anand Jaju
Brickwork details in courtyard_©Source Anand Jaju

The slender, flexible flat steel in combination with the stiff brick spacers results in different, unique surface textures.

External view_©Source Anand Jaju
Common area_©Source Anand Jaju

4. Omah boto by Andyrahman Architect 

Omah boto, as the name translates to ‘Brick House’ located near the Pari temple, East Java is designed with the theme of Indonesian vibes as requested by the client. The idea of Omah boto was inspired by the temple built around the Majapahit kingdom era. The team worked hand in hand with the craftsmen from Trowulan village that have been carrying forward the legacy of materials and manufacturing techniques. 

Omah boto by Andyrahman Architect_©Source Mansyur Hasan
Brickwork patterns at entrance_©Source Mansyur Hasan
Brickwork patterns at entrance_©Source Mansyur Hasan
Dining area_©Source Mansyur Hasan
brickwork at first floor common area_©Source Mansyur Hasan

In addition to the red bricks, bamboo, wood, and rattan are also used to enhance the genuine Indonesian character. The red bricks become the main element of the house, like “a gene or a cell”, as the designers describe it. The main structure of the house focuses on brick masonry, which is permeable to light and air. 

common area_©Source Mansyur Hasan

From the entrance to the prayer room to the vertical garden inside and on each floor, the designers have used Jali brick masonry not only to play with light and shadow; but also to provide a visual break for the users.

Courtyard_©Source Mansyur Hasan
Staircase_©Source Mansyur Hasan

5. The pirouette house by wallmakers 

This brick dwelling in Kerala was designed by Wallmakers, which is inspired by the masterpieces of Ar. Laurie Baker. Keeping the basic principles of the “brick genius” in mind, the house features the “last of the Mohicans” fired bricks that embellish the space with the pure geometry and patterns created by the walls that seem to be pirouetting. 

Pirouette house by Wallmakers_©Source Jino Sam

Rat trap bond- one of the most important and beautiful masonry techniques of Ar. Laurie Baker can be seen throughout the house. 

The house sits on a small 196-square-foot lot that is enclosed on all four sides by other residential projects. Nevertheless, the designers have integrated the use of brick into walls and screens in such a way that the interior does not seem small or cramped.

Main entrance_©Source Jino Sam
_Porch_©Source Jino Sam

The core idea of the residence was to have an inward-facing house with all the spaces opening into a central courtyard. 

Roof of the courtyard_©Source Jino Sam
Courtyard_©Source Jino Sam

The principle of discarding nothing as ‘waste’ was followed throughout. The scaffolding pipes from the construction stage were reused as a central staircase and grillwork, along with the wooden planks. Cane was used around the grillwork and stairs for privacy and aesthetics

Pirouetting wall details_©Source Jino Sam
Pirouetting wall details_©Source Jino Sam
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A lost architectural student trying to make her way in the world of incredible artists. This hyperactive, overthinking nature lover believes in the power of ink and wants to share her weird perspective through her writings

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