Many architects work in a variety of areas, designing everything from the layout of a city block to the most minute details of a building. A common trend among these projects is that the furnishings, the very things that make a structure usable and livable, are often afterthoughts for the project's creators and only become important when the structure is already built.
Bricks: The Latest Architecture and News
The Monadnock Building in Chicago began construction in 1891 and is still in use today. The building features a somber facade without ornamentation and a colossal height - at the time - of 16 floors. It is considered the first skyscraper built in structural masonry, with ceramic bricks and a granite base. To support the entire load of the building, the structural walls on the ground floor are 1.8 meters thick, and at the top, 46 centimeters. One hundred and thirty years later, this construction system remains common and allows for the erection of taller buildings with much thinner walls, accomplishing even new architectural works economically and rationally. But what is structural masonry about, and how can designers use it in architectural projects? And for what kinds of buildings is this system most suitable?
Ranging from yellow, to gray, to traditional red and orange, bricks are ubiquitous in many of our cities and widely used in construction. Briefly, the manufacturing process of traditional bricks involves molding clay and firing it in ovens, facilitating the creation of solid blocks, perforated blocks, cobogós, tiles, and other shapes. Ceramic bricks are inexpensive; easy to find; boast strong resistance, thermal inertia, and finish; and do not require such specialized labor for construction. But if the installation is done near sources of high heat, the common brick will end up cracking and breaking, making refractory bricks more suitable. But what does that mean?
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.
At the apogee of the Roman Empire, its territory extended over more than five million square kilometers, between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Rome exercised power over a population of more than 70 million people, which equated to roughly 21% of the world population at the time. In fact, as we have already shown in another article, all roads led to the city of Rome. The great seat of the empire and the material and immaterial heritage left by it is immeasurable, and even today researchers seek to understand its full impact on the current world. From the beginning of its expansion in the 6th century BC until its fall in the year 476 AD, the legacy left by the Romans encompasses areas such as law, plastic arts, Latin (which originated many different languages), systems of government, and, importantly, architecture.
Rotation, displacement, and interleaving of blocks are some of the options that enable the diversity of raw brick patterns in architecture. The shape of these elements, usually used for the construction of walls, has been explored in a creative way to compose facades of residential buildings, representing the formal identity of the building itself and its relationship with its context.
Iran’s architecture has long been rooted in Persian culture. From tea houses and pavilions to domestic huts and elaborate mosques, the country’s built environment is tied to these influences, as well as the landscape and its broader context. At the heart of Iran’s more recent projects is a desire to reinterpret history through new spaces and forms.
Sometimes known as the “Island of the Gods,” Jeju Island in South Korea is characterized by its volcanic rock, stunning waterfalls, and warm, tropical climate. Here, life is integrated with nature and the architecture is in harmony with the landscape. Dissolving Arch, a weather-specific installation by stpmj, responds to the island’s tropical environment. The structure began life as a solid brick vault, which then slowly dissolved in the hot and rainy periods of Jeju to produce a light, porous skeleton made of the remaining mortar which connects people with nature.
Some years ago, researchers in the United States previously tested the concept of using synthetic urine-based substances to fabricate building materials. However, new research conducted by Masters student Suzanne Lambert at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, puts forth a zero-waste process of producing urine-based bricks by using collected human urine for the first time.
MVRDV has released details of their proposed renovation of a 19th-century listed building on Slodowa Island in Wroclaw, Poland. The “Concordia Hub” will see the retention of the existing façade, with the addition of a contemporary rear extension to “create a focal point” for the general public and visitors.
The site’s former use as a German artillery base in 1945 means almost all of the island’s structures were destroyed in the closing months of World War II. The Concordia Hub scheme seeks to preserve one of the only surviving heritage structures on the island, while transitioning the building into the modern age.
This week we present a selection of the best images of brick houses published on our site. These 11 Mexican projects reveal the diversity of expression that architects in the country have achieved through creative arrangements of the brick modules. read on for a selection of images from prominent photographers such as Carlos Berdejo Mandujano, Onnis Luque, and Patrick Lopez.
Developed by researchers and students from the Faculty of Architecture at HKU and supported by Sino Group, the 'Ceramic Constellation Pavilion' is built on a wooden structure that supports a series of "walls" formed by about 2,000 clay bricks. Each of these individual components is unique and has been manufactured using robotic technology and 3D printing, allowing to generate different types of transparency and opacity in their different faces.