Brick House / AZL architects

© Iwan Baan

Architects: AZL architects
Location: Gaochun, , China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Shen Kaikang, Zhang Ang
Collaborator: Gaochun Architectural Design Office
Project area: 580 sqm (Ye House) + 860 sqm (Wang House)
Project year: 2006 – 2008
Photographs: Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan

Based on local courtyard houses, the design evolved from the interaction of two houses with the surrounding landscape. Terracotta bricks were made from local clay with local knowledge, composing the structure and façades. Skilled village construction workers very familiar with the medium were able to facilitate the marriage of traditional savoir-faire with new and progressive design.

first floor plan 01

Three different textures of brick skin make up the façade. An interlocking pattern leaves perforations between bricks, and protruding bricks cast shadows along the wall. Windows punctuate the texture, and the brickwork along the edges of these portals further develops abstract geometric relations while remaining loyal to the structural logic.

© Iwan Baan

Relying entirely upon local materials and workers, the project was able to be built for the unusually low budget of 80 euros per square meter. The client is a famous poet in China, and invested much time into the process and worked in cooperation with the architect.

Cite: "Brick House / AZL architects" 13 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • huibiao wu

    the link of AZL architects is wrong!

    • huibiao wu

      correct now

  • ethan

    OK. Can someone please tell photographers/architects, whatever, that I want to see the house, I don’t care for people in the photos, it seems like is a new trend, to show how nice and liveable the space is. It’s annoying and it ruins the photos… no people, please. If I want to look at people I will look at People magazine.

    • jonchas

      I have to disagree with you.

      Architecture without people is nothing.

    • RXXX

      The person in the photo is not intened to create a nice and liveable atmosphere, it is to make it possible for us to make an estimation of all the scales of the architecture, height, windows, bricks etc.

  • sam

    This project along with their other ‘Three Courtyard Community Centre’ has one of the best, unique, modular brick pattern designs i’ve seen! For the ones that are sort of perforated (or rather checkered) it appears that some of the membrane is exposed to the environment is that alright? please answer!

  • as