Careful detailing is of paramount importance in brickwork. The following collection includes fifteen awe-striking examples of unusual methods and patterns of brick in architecture, from across the globe.
As a building material that dates back thousands of years, bricks are fundamental in construction across the world. Both cost-efficient and durable, bricks are available in a seemingly endless range of sizes, colors, and finishes, and can be incorporated in construction methods with varied arrangements and bonding techniques to create unique patterns on building envelopes. Bonding techniques are chosen according to the brick type and exposure. Careful detailing is of paramount importance in brickwork to prevent its degradation through rainwater penetration or differential movement. The following collection includes fifteen awe-striking examples of unusual methods and patterns of brick in architecture, from across the globe.
1.School extension from earthquake ruins
In 2015, when a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, the PATRIZIA children foundation invited Supertecture to design a school extension in Dhoksan, a village located in the Himalayas. Supertecture persuaded hundreds of earthquake-hit families to hand out the bricks from their wrecked homes. They gathered about fourteen-thousand bricks of different types. For each type of brick, they developed unique bonding techniques.
2. Silica-plastic sustainable block from foundry waste
Rhino machines, a company based in India launched the ‘silica plastic block’ – a sustainable brick made from recycling waste (80 percent foundry sand waste and 20 percent plastic waste), to tackle the hazardous waste generation in India.
3. A new home from an old barn
Wrzeszcz Architekci built a brick façade using material from an old, abandoned barn, in the construction of a new house in Poland. Varying levels of transparency and articulation were used to distinguish the different zones of the house. The façade comprises four types of bricks.
4. 38 Housing Units
Setting a new standard for structural diversity, 38 Housing Units integrates landscape with the suburbs. On its north and west brick façades, lively colors and classic detailing were used to extrude patterns from the face of the brick.
5. Ngamwongwan House
The Ngamwongwan House was constructed by Junsekino Architecture & Design in Bangkok, Thailand. The house’s brick screen façade portrays a collaboration between architecture and techniques of local artisans. The bricks were rotated to stand proud of the envelope and create a continual vertical pattern. The house also features double-layer brick walls that channel in natural light.
6. Termitary House
The Termitary House was designed by Tropical Space, Da Nang, Vietnam. In this project, entire bricks were extruded from the outer skin of the double brick façade. Owing to their absorptive capacity, the bricks assist regulate the internal temperature of the building.
7. Hindmans Yard
Hindmans Yard by Foster Lomas, London, United Kingdom, was made with brick tooling details to echo the nearby Victorian terraces. The project features brick cladding to subtly contrast its surroundings. Its rippling façade pattern was made using a rotated technique to stagger bricks atop one another at a 45-degree angle.
8. South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre
Making use of the flexibility of bricks as rotatable modules, Anagram Architects, Delhi, India engineered an elevation that allows for ample natural ventilation while arresting noise pollution and intense heat. Designed for low-cost projects, the use of brick was ideal for the creation of a highly complex façade using limited resources.
9. The Rippled Skin Mulberry House
SHoP Architects Mulberry House in New York City, showcases how the thoughtful use of black bricks can bring in natural light for a striking interior aesthetic. These are not load-carrying faceted panels but instead, wrap the building as a contemporary skin- a tribute to the historic brick façades of the region.
10. The Perforated Grid
At the ABC Building by WISE Architecture in Seoul, South Korea, bricks were laid with small gaps in some portions of the façade, allowing natural light and breeze to filter through to walkways concealed behind layers of black brick.
11. House 712
House 712 is a private residence built by Harquitectes, Barcelona, Spain. Its unusual form helped shrink the construction expenses by sixty-five percent! Perforated bricks were harnessed for their combination of low cost and functionality. The bricks neatly overlap at each corner of the building, hence framing the distinctive triangular layout of the dwelling.
12. Pabellón Agrícola Almazara Santurde Spain
This olive oil factory in Northern Spain was designed by Barcena and Zufiaur Arquitectos. This building illustrates how brick can also be used to create distinctive architecture through simple assembly and a bold silhouette. The factory’s windowless brick façades look solid and plain from afar but possess a fine-drawn texture that provides an added element of richness when viewed up close.
13. Clay bricks to erect digital designs
For a project in rural China, M.O.D.E.S, a Shanghai firm explored low-tech solutions to erect digital designs, taking into account the limited access to resources. They proposed the use of clay bricks that workers can erect according to simple number labeling derived from digital patterns, instead of conventional construction drawings.
14. Inspired by termite nests
This double-story home by Vietnamese firm Tropical Space features an inner layer of glazing and an external envelope of baked brick that has openings to allow ventilation and light, keeping in mind privacy. These perforated walls play with light and shadow, switching its color from mild red in the morning to purple during sunset.
15. The brick road from the ground to roof
This brick road that morphs from ground to roof by ArchStudio is a perfect example of a dynamic communal space that integrates indoor and outdoor living-literally.