Bricks, Stone & Ceramics Supplement – Editor’s Comment

is now at the top of architects’ agendas. No longer saddled with the stigma of faceless volume housing, B

rick is back! As shown by the record number of submissions to last year’s Brick Awards (325 projects), and testimony from our expert columnist in this special supplement, Arup’s Alexis Harrison, the material

brick’s potential to offer precision-matching of a new building to its historic context, highly crafted facades, and a sense of warmth, is seeing its use increase in all sectors.

The resurgence of brick’s popularity is seen in the two schemes we selected for our Project Reports, namely Maccreanor Lavington’s South Gardens scheme in south London, and another residential scheme, this time in Copenhagen, and designed by COBE and Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects.

In the former’s case, the task was to replace a sprawling estate with a set of buildings which provided much more of a tie-in with well-loved Victorian housing of the area. Judicious application of a limited but varied palette of bricks achieved this and a lot more. In the case of Krøyers Plads in the heart of Copenhagen, brick has also been used to help the scheme bed in, this time with the harbourside area’s warehouse heritage. It’s also been used to enhance the playful new forms that the architects have devised for the apartment buildings.

South Gardens was given the Supreme Winner award at the Brick Awards, which I think means the judges really, really liked it. It’s certainly a showcase of how the variety possible with brick can break down the volume of a huge new development. It also shows how a bit of design ingenuity can produce appealing, detailed mid-rise facades, bolstering the popularity of the once-maligned clay.

However is brick on the rise in the commercial sector too or is it restricted to resi? When we come to compile the content for next year’s supplement (which will again also cover stone and ceramics), it would be good to see more high quality commercial sector brick buildings in the mix.

James Parker