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Chewing the cud

Speakers from the Brick Development Association’s Structural Masonry Day talk brick

Credit: Seier+Seier

What is your favourite structural brick building?

'Hopkins Architects’ Inland Revenue Centre in Nottingham, with its prefabricated brickwork columns.' - Paul Rogatzki, head of design and technical services, Hanson Building Products


'Layer Marney Tower in Colchester is a staggering robust Italianate early Tudor house demonstrating brick’s structural qualities, durability and warmth.' -  

Simon Hay, CEO, Brick Development Association


'The Pantheon, Rome.' - Geoff Edgell, director, Lucideon


'There is no one building that captivates me more than a Georgian townscape.  If I had to single out a 20th century building, then Grundtvig’s church in Copenhagen [pictured] illustrates the more creative use of brick.' - Richard Hill, associate, advanced technology and research, Arup

How high could you build a self-supported masonry structure?

'I would have thought 40m was approaching practical limits. It would depend on the compressive strength of the brick and the use of bed joint reinforcement and mortar strength.' - Simon Hay, CEO, Brick Development Association

'If we are talking about a building where the walls support the floors, then realistically 10 storeys in order to keep the walls to a sensible thickness. 15-20 storeys could be achieved if we accept thicker walls but clearly this depends on location. Seismic loads will influence how adventurous you could be.' - Richard Hill, associate, advanced technology and research, Arup


What innovation in brick technology and construction would you most welcome?

'The development of thin joint, adhesive brickwork to improve structural masonry properties – particularly in lateral load strength – and resistance to rain penetration.' - Paul Rogatzki, head of design and technical services, Hanson Building Products

'A facing brick as a block which, in a single unit, provides support insulation, an external finish and internal thermal mass.' - Simon Hay, CEO, Brick Development Association

'Greater use of advanced techniques such as reinforcing and prestressing to extend the range of structural forms that can be achieved. This may well only happen through greater emphasis in structural engineering degree courses.' - Geoff Edgell, director, Lucideon

'Over the years, thermal/moisture requirements have driven us to employ cavity walls and to separate the structural frame from the facade. I would welcome ideas that allow us once again to use the brick facade as part of the structural system.' - Richard Hill, associate, advanced technology and research, Arup