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Brick Awards 2022 celebrate the humble clay block

Words:
Keith Aldis

This week's awards ceremony took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. Winning projects across 17 categories - plus a Supreme Winner - provide a snapshot of exemplary clay brick architecture across the UK and beyond

In association with the
Brick Awards 2022 Supreme Winner: Radley College chapel extension, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Purcell Architecture.
Brick Awards 2022 Supreme Winner: Radley College chapel extension, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Purcell Architecture. Credit: Nicholas Kane

The standard of the entries for this year's Brick Awards, the Oscars of the brick industry, has been exceptional. The judges had to make some tremendously difficult decisions, with a few very close calls.

This year’s overall winner, the extension to the chapel at Radley College, near Oxford, one of the country’s leading private schools, was exceptional.

The judges praised 'the overall use of brickwork and well considered complementary materials, which worked fully within a historic context, yet the building is still very much 21st century, vibrant and exciting'.

Across the 17 main categories, winners included an affordable housing development in Greenwich, a children’s hospital in Liverpool and an office block in Tehran. The projects included significant contributions from architects, specialist brickwork contractors, developers and brick manufacturers.

All demonstrated a true understanding of the potential of brick and its relationship with its immediate environment, together with the importance of sustainability.

Brick: the sound economic and sustainable choice

The stellar standard of this year’s awards is a magnificent advertisement for the humble British brick. With its solidity, longevity, sustainability, beauty and familiarity - and its startling regional colour variations - brick remains so attractive for developers, architects, self-builders and renovators. 

  • Architects' Choice award winner: Woodmoore Mews, Charlton Church Lane, London. Peter Barber Architects.
    Architects' Choice award winner: Woodmoore Mews, Charlton Church Lane, London. Peter Barber Architects.
  • Innovation award winner: Battersea Power Station. WilkinsonEyre, Purcell Architecture, Nansi Jones.
    Innovation award winner: Battersea Power Station. WilkinsonEyre, Purcell Architecture, Nansi Jones.
  • Supreme Award winner Radley College chapel extension: host and presenter Hugh Dennis with Josh Greig from Purcell Architecture and Scot Denham from awards sponsor IG Masonry Support.
    Supreme Award winner Radley College chapel extension: host and presenter Hugh Dennis with Josh Greig from Purcell Architecture and Scot Denham from awards sponsor IG Masonry Support.
  • Awards were given out in 17 categories, plus the Supreme Winner award.
    Awards were given out in 17 categories, plus the Supreme Winner award.
  • The event was held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.
    The event was held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.
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Here's a killer fact: bricks, on average, constitute 70 per cent of the appearance of a building, but only four per cent of the cost. They make the soundest economic sense, especially as they are incredibly easy to maintain.

If the economic case for bricks is persuasive, so too is the sustainability and ecological argument. Of all building and housing materials, bricks are one of the most environmentally friendly - as well as one of the safest. 

British bricks are the most environmentally friendly of all because their journey from the ground to the completed building is far shorter than their foreign competitors.

Bricks are remarkably sustainable throughout this life cycle, from the production process, through packaging to building. The porous structure of bricks offers a huge advantage: the ability to accumulate heat.

In winter, during sunny days, bricks can store heat from the sun and radiate the energy back when necessary. During the summer they can combat the heat and thus avoid overheating a building.

With energy bills going through the roof, this is a priceless asset. All major British brick manufacturers take their sustainability responsibilities extremely seriously, recycling energy and waste wherever possible and supporting the circular economy.

Ever since brick was first used as a building material, way back in southern Turkey in 7200 BC, it has been both popular, long-lasting and effective.

Today, the argument for building with brick has never been so strong and so timely. As the cost of living soars, and fears about the effects of climate change grow daily, bricks provide perfect answers to both problems.

Once you factor in its effortless and enduring beauty, the case for British brick is irresistible.

To find out more about the winners in each of the categories, visit brick.org.uk/brick-awards-2022

For more information and technical support, visit brick.org.uk

 

Contact:

020 7323 7034

georgespreckley@brick.org.uk

 

Keith Aldis is chief executive of the Brick Development Association.


 

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