Sustainable Community Development Wows Architects at 2014 Brick Awards

A re-development of a difficult urban brownfield site in South East London has been unanimously voted as the Architect’s Choice Award at the annual Brick Awards which took place on 12th November at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London.

Designed by husband and wife team Robert and Jessica Barker, Rockbourne Mews is a small development of three properties constructed by Brickwork Contractor Phase Brickworks, using masonry cavity walls. Wienerberger’s Marziale light coloured stock brick was chosen to complement the surrounding London stock buildings and to create a light and airy feel.

Each house is approached via a shared courtyard. Central to each of the open plan ground floors is a multi functional outdoor room which serves as a grand entrance porch, an external terrace, an extension to the living space and work space, and as an atrium to the surrounding rooms. The flying brick beams of houses 1 and 2, define the boundary of the private and communal space, creating a clear gateway without barriers.

Featuring a number of sustainable measures, which really impressed the judges, the designs incorporate a high proportion of glazing to solid, providing privacy in places yet openness in others, encouraging a real sense of community. The pale hues of the Marziale stock brick together with the glazing reflect light into the communal courtyard even during winter months. Numerous brick specials were used to suit the site angles.

Using triple glazing with high performance insulation to walls, floors and roof, the buildings create a balance between natural light and thermal performance. The window openings are framed by slender brick piers, which are braced by the construction of the first floor. All of the elevations and all of the windows were carefully set out to varying brick dimensions creating a dynamic rhythm to the façade.

The steel structure and bespoke masonry supports over the curved roof unite the crafted brickwork geometry of the inclined beams. The result is a very nice sustainable community of homes each one with its own personality but tied together by a common uniform of brick.

The Brick Awards is one of Britain’s most respected design competitions. Organised by the Brick Development Association, the annual contest provides the definitive showcase for what brick can achieve with projects being entered from right across the globe.

You can see pictures and find full details of the project teams on the BDA’s website www.brick.org.uk/brick-awards.