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Words:
Pamela Buxton

Speakers from the BDA’s Design Day – Brick Works! on June 16 detail their brick greatest hits

In association with the

What is your favourite type of brick/brickworks? 

French Terca perforated Terre Doree (golden earth) as it closely resembles clay tile walls in Italian barns I admire. 

Alfred Munkenbeck, founding senior partner, Munkenbeck+Partners Architects

 

I particularly love clamp-fired bricks – a traditional method whereby bricks are stacked out of doors and burned over a bed of coal, or with timber. The colour varies depending on how windy the firing conditions are at the time, so the bricks come out in a rainbow of colours and textures. 

Alexis Harrison, associate, Arup 

 

I really like the use of red stocks in Flemish bond with burnt headers. The diamond patterns and the flow of the bond into windows and doors show the intricacy that can otherwise be lost in a stretcher brick wall. 

Pete Croney, project manager, Swift Brickwork Contractors

 

We have been working a lot with Heritage Red Blend on a series of buildings at Brentwood School. I like the tonal variation and roughness of the brick which gives depth and also an informal, tactile quality – unlike some other factory-made bricks.

Jonathan Dawes, associate architect, Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture

 

What’s your most creative use of brick?

Piercy & Co’s Turnmill building in Clerkenwell, London (top right). I helped them with the technical aspects but their concept is pure genius: creamy-yellow ribbons of brickwork wrapping around the building’s sumptuous curves!  

Alexis Harrison, associate, Arup 

 

At West Hampstead station we used a saw-tooth profile, glazed brick with deliberate echoes of the wonderful glazed façades of the Leslie Green tube stations in north-west London. We drew textures and colours from the plane trees ‘rescued’ from alongside the railway to form the key component in the new public space in front of the station.  

Adam Brown, director, Landolt + Brown

 

Ortus is a 1,500m2 learning centre in the field of mental health and wellbeing. The brick, from Freshfield Lane, changes tone subtly from a deep red to a blue/grey as it ascends. The brickwork panelling and hue change is repeated internally and is intended to represent the notion of the collective and the individual while corresponding with the richness of the surrounding Georgian streetscapes.

Joe Morris, director, Duggan Morris Architects

 

What brick building inspires you the most?

William Butterfield’s All Saints Church [Margaret Street, London, 1859]. The polychrome patterning externally is incredibly rich – with every facet, return, volume, level comes a differing pattern or bond, all compressed within a very tight site where the effects are folded in upon one another and continue to the increasingly ornate interior. 

Jonathan Dawes, associate architect, Cottrell & Vermeulen  Architecture

 

Gillespie Kidd and Coia’s St Bride’s in East Kilbride. The fortress-like depth, density and poetry of the brick walls are truly breathtaking as you walk up the hill and enter the Kirk. But at a more intimate scale, the velvet softness of the hand-thrown bricks and the crafted delicacy of the detailing humanises its monumentality. 

Adam Brown, director, Landolt + Brown

 

A tie between the church of St Peter, Klippan by Sigurd Lewerentz and the Exeter Academy library by Louis I Kahn. Both architects have huge respect for the weight of bricks and would never suspend them with glue from soffits or use hidden brick angle support. 

Alfred Munkenbeck, founding senior partner, Munkenbeck+Partners Architects

 

Last year I accidentally stumbled upon Eero Saarinen's MIT chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'd seen it in books but nothing prepares you for the simplicity and beauty of that perfect little building with its rich, gnarly bricks.

Alexis Harrison, associate, Arup 

 

Frank Gehry’s Australian Business School is my current favourite. It challenges all the uniformity, solidity and scale that brick normally conveys.

Pete Croney, project manager, Swift Brickwork Contractors

 

Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint’s Grundvig’s Church in Copenhagen is a tour de force in design, detail and expression of brick as a malleable building product. It is a continuous, fluted and crafted surface culminating in the most impressive and awe-inspiring groined vaults in memory.

Joe Morris, director, Duggan Morris Architects

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