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Design Code: Brick

After mud adobe, brick is certainly the humblest of all building materials. Throughout history and most societies, brick is the most common building material, and it certainly has the greatest use and flexibility.

The material has advanced in recent years, especially on the sustainability front. Its benefits range from being a hard wearing, low-maintenance building product that will not fade, twist, wrap, rot or decay, to good acoustic and thermal performance, and fire resistance.


Let’s see how designers utilize such awesome qualities of brick around the world.

NORD Architecture’s electricity substation for the London Olympics

The building shows how the use of color and form can challenge our constructs of what a brick buildings look like.

In some sections of the façade, holes in the brickwork act as a means of ventilation to cool the transformers.

The electricity substation is made from 130,000 bricks, many of which had to be cut to size by the skilled team of bricklayers.

TAKA’s mew house

A raised, rippled facade.

This building features a decorative pattern of projecting bricks.

On the opposite side of the house, the corresponding bricks have been removed, leaving holes for ventilation.

Brick also appears in the design of interior, where it promotes a feeling of warmth and connectedness.

The College Levi-Strauss by Tank Architectes

The building draws inspiration from its location between a residential area and the port of Lille.

A spiral staircase links the three levels.

The exterior surfaces are all clad in red brick and every corner has been rounded to give a softer visual impression.

Dominikus Stark’s Education Center

Dominikus Stark’s Education Center in Rwanda uses locally produced materials in its construction.

Brickwork is combined with wickerwork, steel door and window surrounds.

Local craftsmen also installed the papyrus ceilings.

James Gorst’s Brick House in Suffolk

Handmade brick easily softens the linear design of the house.

Marc Koehler’s House Like Garden in Amsterdam

The brickwork forms a trellis that will become a vertical garden.

House in Hertfordshire by Coffey Architects

The brick and timber facade of this newly built house resembles the Arts and Crafts movement.

Brick is also a key element inside the property, especially in the stairway.

Six-apartment building in Barrett’s Grove, north London

Architectural practice Groupwork + Amin Taha lets cantilevered black bricks protrude from the property, creating a geometric pattern.

Groupwork + Amin Taha’s six-apartment building in north London

Woven-wicker balconies and a perforated brick facade make a striking impression.

Carmody Groarke-designed house in north London

Handmade Danish bricks in soft and variegated tones were put into great use.

Brick, one of the oldest and most versatile man-made materials, can always finds its way back to trendiness for its desirable qualities, especially in a contemporary context. Brick is a proof that no material is too primal; how the design develop depends on the creativity of the mind.

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