It is crucial to consider the future environmental impact of everything we create. Climate change remains high on the global agenda, and every industry must take part in the goal of reaching Net Zero. One of the more challenging industries concerns construction, which plays a vital role in the process of decarbonization and is constantly encountered with challenges to become greener. Therefore, it demands innovative techniques and development of data to find new and sustainable processes. One solution is to introduce and design both cleaner and more efficient materials. Bricks are a good example, as they can be used in building constructions to ensure a circular process and minimize carbon emissions, being an extremely durable material that can be produced with more sustainable techniques.
Brick: The Latest Architecture and News
The term brick is often used as a synonym for common clay solid blocks, but there's more to it. Bricks are perhaps the most elementary of building materials and can be used to design modular, optimized, and most importantly, versatile buildings. This article explores the most popular types of bricks according to their use in construction.
"The Art of Pattern is the Legacy of our Grandparents": Koen Mulder on the Brick Bond as a Composition Tool
"Welcome to this strange book. With all the drawings, it might appear like a manual, but it isn't. The book is as much about joints as it is about pieces. Above all, it seeks the order that is inherent in things". These words are part of the introduction to Koen Mulder's book, "The lively surface: Masonry associations as a pattern art and tool of composition". Available in German, the 160-page manual, rigorously illustrated, presents a universe of possible pattern variations that can be created when you start designing.
We interviewed Koen to find out what inspired him to talk about this topic and to understand how he managed to gather all this information, while also figuring out the impact that this type of study can have on architecture students and architects.
Today, architects and builders have a multiplicity of options when it comes to specifying their cladding materials, having to balance their design vision with the user's requirements. In addition to the aesthetics and character of the chosen product, it is always important to verify its durability, low maintenance and long-term sustainability. The brick, widely used throughout the world, is not only recyclable and highly resistant to threats such as fire, wind and moisture, but also presents great ease of use, low cost, and high versatility in terms of sizes, shapes, colors and textures.
Showcasing the flexibility of the material, Heartland Brick has selected six notable and award-winning brick projects located in Texas, Kansas, and Illinois, ranging from its most classical use in arches and columns to its most modern and minimalist application, including an impressive mural of sculpted bricks. A lasting legacy for its designers and citizens, and an ongoing inspiration for the contractors and architects of the future.
When creating a contemporary atmosphere for living, many factors come into play. The surrounding environment, its climate, use of materials, spatial organization, and the attention to detail in both the interior and exterior design, all impact the quality of the design as a whole.
Students at the School of Engineering, RMIT University recently published a study experimenting with a new form of waste management and recycling. As they note in their research, cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded single waste item in the world, with an estimated 5.7 trillion having been consumed around the globe in 2016. However, the materials in cigarette butts—particularly their cellulose acetate filters—can be extremely harmful to the environment due to poor biodegradability. The RMIT study builds on a previous research study by Mohajerani et. al (2016) that experimented with adding discarded cigarette butts to clay bricks for architectural use. In their research, the RMIT students found that such a measure would reduce the energy consumption of the brick production process and lower the thermal conductivity of the bricks, but that other issues including bacterial contamination would have to be addressed prior to successful implementation. Below, we explore this research in more detail, investigating its relevance to the architecture industry and imagining possible futures of application.
Not a month goes by without Danish architects and Danish design in the news, as design seems to be one of the primary exports from the tiny Scandinavian country. To be fair, the attention isn't a bad thing. Denmark has a rich heritage of furniture designers and architects who have transformed spatial thinking around the world. Some thoughts were so “BIG,” that they envisioned inhabiting the moon or making plans for a Masterplanet.
You probably see brick on a daily basis, whether it’s structuring a building, paving the road, or perhaps serving as a fireplace or chimney. But do all these applications use the same type of brick? How are the bricks supporting or being supported? What are these bricks actually made of? Brick’s versatility and ubiquitous nature mean there’s more than one answer to these questions. Even among brick’s most common applications as a building facade and/or structural wall material, there are a variety of types and construction methods employed.
Cuisine, culture, sightseeing, and engaging with the locals are all reasons people like to travel. The common factor that draws us to explore new places, however, is simply the chance to experience cities and landscapes unlike our own familiar surroundings. For example, when Chinese tourists can again visit Copenhagen, they may admire the waterside capital’s winding bike paths, lush green parks, and the Scandinavian brick traditions on display in Nyhavn. Likewise, a Danish tourist would surely be blown away by the breathtaking scale of Beijing, with it’s 9 million+ bicycles and the display of ancient Chinese culture juxtaposed with modern society.
For almost two decades, Wienerberger AG has been hosting the international Brick Award every two years, providing a stage for excellent brick architecture and its architects. Architects from all over the world showcase their innovative concepts with ceramic materials: 644 projects from 55 countries have been submitted for this year's award. The winners of the Brick Award 20 impressed the jury with bold and creative architectural concepts for sustainable and forward-looking spaces.
The Catalan Vault in Spanish Architecture: 15 Projects that Are Breathing New Life into An Old Technique
In some cases, a roof can become the shining centerpiece in a work of architecture. Catalan vault, also known as Valencian timbrel vault, became a fixture in Spanish architecture in the 19th century, popularized thanks to its low cost and ease of sourcing and assembly. With the ability to span over 30m per module, this technique is currently making a comeback, establishing itself as a go-to construction method in industrial architecture and can be seen in everything including workshops, factories, and warehouses.
Brick is one of the most popular materials for architects designing with a vintage or rustic aesthetic: exposed brick walls are often touted as highly desirable for apartments, restaurants, and stores, and exterior brick facades can make a building or home feel warmer and more inviting. However, the color and cut of the brick can greatly influence the atmosphere it emanates, with white brick lending itself to more minimalist design and tan brick tending to feel more rustic and earthy. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular brick colors, ways to artificially color brick, and recent projects that use brick facades or interior brick elements effectively.
Constrained by a lack of transportation and resources, vernacular architecture has started adapting the distinct strategy of utilizing local materials. By analyzing projects which have successfully incorporated these features into their design, this article gives an overview of how traditional materials, such as tiles, metal, rocks, bamboo, wooden sticks, timber, rammed earth and bricks are being transformed through vernacular architecture in China.
The use of brick plays a very important role in the architectural history of the United Kingdom. Construction techniques that involve brick and stone have been in constant progress. In fact, brick production improved over time, making the material the most popular one in the construction industry. From the 18th century onwards, brickwork was predominantly used in domestic and industrial architecture, but later on, it was introduced to the structure of warehouses and factories, as well as other various forms of infrastructure.
While many of these buildings are still operating to this day, it comes as no surprise. Refurbishment and reuse are highly recommended techniques, and in many cases, the only methods to maintain densely populated European cities. Therefore, the challenge lays in reusing these buildings and recycling the materials available, always trying to retain as much of the original structure as possible.
Brick is one of the most widely used materials in Colombia, making the architectural designs in its capital city, Bogotá, stand out worldwide. Due to the excellent quality of the clay found in some regions of the country, brick is used in all aspects of construction, from adobe floor slabs to exterior facades.
It is a rare occasion for a historic neighborhood to have new buildings. Never the less, this is exactly what happened along the elegant and ornate structures of Frederiksberg Allé in Copenhagen. The historical avenue was inspired by Parisian architecture and features many buildings notable for their intricate architectural detail.