As one of the most ubiquitous forms of construction, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the humble brick. However, this prosaic building method can also be one of the most versatile materials available to architects, thanks to the experimentation of countless architects who, for centuries, have worked to create new forms of expression with the simple material. In this round up, we celebrate architects who, with their architectural classics, have expanded the possibilities of brick craft: Antoni Gaudí's fantastical vaulting at Colònia Güell and Alvar Aalto's experimental brick patterning at his house in Muuratsalo; the powerful brick piers of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's Knights of Columbus Building and the Catalan vaults of Porro, Garatti and Gattardi's National Arts School of Cuba; and finally, what brick round up would be complete without the brick-whisperer himself - Louis Kahn and his all-brick fortress for the Indian Institute of Management.
The Brick Development Association, representing the UK and Ireland, has unveiled its shortlist for the 2014 Brick Awards. The awards recognize excellence in design and construction using brick in 14 different categories. Among the contenders are Zaha Hadid Architects' Serpentine Sackler Gallery , Universal Design Studio's Ace Hotel and Mecanoo's The Library of Birmingham. The winners will be announced on November 12.
See the full shortlist after the break:
The following news is presented by ArchDaily Materials, our new US product catalog.
The 2014 Wienerberger Brick Award Winners exemplify brick's potential in contemporary architecture, transforming the common brick into something spectacular. This year's jury featured 2012 Pritzer winner Wang Shu, who commented on the "spatial and secret" feeling of the Grand Prize Winning Kantana Film and Animation Institute. See all seven winners after the break.
Our friends at Mecanoo have shared a fascinating mini-documentary exploring the complex brickwork on display in their latest project in Boston's Dudley Square, the Dudley Municipal Center (nearing completion).
Called "Boston Bricks with a Dutch Touch," this documentary features interviews with everyone involved in the project - from construction workers to architects - and focuses on the difficulty of using brick in this elaborate manner. Enjoy the video above and check out some fantastic images after the break.
In case you missed it, we’re re-publishing this popular post for your material pleasure. Enjoy!
To celebrate the recent launch of our US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials, we've coupled six iconic architects with what we deem to be their favourite or most frequently used material. From Oscar Neimeyer's sinuous use of concrete to Kengo Kuma's innovative use of wood, which materials define some of the world's best known architects?
A unique biotechnology start-up company have developed a method of growing bricks from nothing more than bacteria and naturally abundant materials. Having recently won first place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge, bioMason has developed a method of growing materials by employing microorganisms. Arguing that the four traditional building materials - concrete, glass, steel and wood - both contain a significant level of embodied energy and heavily rely on limited natural resources, their answer is in high strength natural biological cements (such as coral) that can be used "without negative impacts to the surrounding environment."
"Bricktopia", by the architects of the international collective Map13, is the winning project in the "Build-it" Eme3 International Architecture Festival, held on June 27-30 in Barcelona. The pavilion can be visited throughout the summer at the square of the former spinning mill Fabra i Coats in the Sant Andreu district.
This intervention sets a new square which can house different activities, both under the pavilion and around it. Public spaces for bathrooms, sun, bar and stage for enjoying the summer 2013. It is a brick domed structure that employs the traditional construction system of a partitioned vault (or "Catalan vault") computed with new digital tools for the structural optimization of the geometry.
More information and images below.
UPDATE: Unfortunately this video is no longer available.
"Even a brick wants to be something." - Louis Kahn
In this jaunty little clip, Louis Kahn stresses the importance of honoring your materials to a group of students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Greek architects, mab architecture, have shared with us their interactive, multi sensory pavilion, Plinthos. Additional images, multiple videos and a description of this visually striking project after the break.
Architects: Anttinen Oiva Architects Location: Helsinki, Finland Project Manager: Vesa Oiva Collaborators: Jussi Kalliopuska, Selina Anttinen, Antti Lehto Building services consultant: Aila Puusaari, DI, Pˆyry Building Services Oy Construction-engineering consultant: Sami Lampinen, DI, WSP Finland Oy Library consultants: Irma Pasanen, office chief, Library of Helsinki University of Technology / Risto Maijala, library amanuense, Library of Helsinki University of Technology Client: University of Helsinki Project Area: 32,000 sqm Design year: 2008-2010 Construction year: 2010-2012 Images: Courtesy Anttinen Oiva Architects