Vision The creativity of brick
Issue 1 July 2010
Wienerberger Ltd Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8200 | F 0161 491 6529 email@example.com | www.brick.co.uk
Vision is a publication of:
Welcome to the first edition of Wienerberger Vision, a new magazine for architects and designers from the world’s largest brick manufacturer. Within these pages we
have included a selection of fascinating case studies, each demonstrating imaginative
Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive
and ingenious uses of brick by architects experimenting with colours, bonds, sculp-
Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle
tural weaving and the incorporation of complimentary materials.
Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8200
This collection of works is beautifully illustrated through photography and provides
F 0161 491 6529
the ideal showcase for this most versatile and enduring
building material. Brick has been used to in the design and construction of our built
environment for many thousands of years and has had a demonstrable impact on our
Content Prinsentoren office building, The Hague Ingenious use of colours at a high level
Chelsea office building, The Hague New craftsmanship
Castle Getsewoud, Nieuw-Vennep Fairytale spectacle
Skoatterwâld housing development, Heerenveen Tangible architecture
House, Haren Bow to the landscape
cultural identity – whole towns and regions can be identified by the particular brick Editors
that defines their local vernacular. This small scale block, that can be held in one hand
and laid brick by brick, can be used to create incredible, landmark buildings, some
of which are featured here.
Heather Butler Caroline Kruit - CCK Media, Den Haag
The flexibility of choice has long made brick a favourite of inspirational architects the ideal material in many award-winning architectural projects. Wienerberger has such
a diverse product portfolio as to support the most creative of designs to construct
Ruud Peijnenburg, ‘s Hertogenbosch
buildings that are truly breathtaking. Brick has an emotional and enduring appeal, it is a familiar aesthetic which simultane-
ously allows for experimentation and invention, allowing architects to express modern
concepts whilst linking to the surrounding traditions. With brick we know there are few limits and hope the following pages do their bit to help stir the imagination !
Prinsentoren office building, The Hague
Ingenious use of colours at a high level The Hague is heading skywards – in building terms
clad in a skin of red-brown and bronze-green brickwork
that is. The eye-catching office complex Prinsenhof
using an innovative system that consists of prefabricated
is part of the restructuring of the Beatrixkwartier
elements. The choice was prompted by the delivery period
financial district, which is currently partially occupied
for the Prinsentoren in which speed was of the essence.
by high-rise buildings. The Prinsentoren is a striking beacon within this development.
The base of the Prinsentoren is a square floor layout that contains a service area in the middle of each floor which
Three designers have created every part of the complex.
has been set back a little into the wall. Equidistant to the
Architect Kees Rijnbout at the Architectengroep desig-
adjacent Utrechtsebaan highway, looking out onto the city,
ned the residential towers while Hans van Beek at Atelier
Ligtvoet’s carrés ‘cut out’ the wall: eight floors high, with
Pro designed the offices and the business premises and
a depth extending to the service area. Here the brickwork
Rob Ligtvoet at architects Kraaijvanger|Urbis designed
skin was given a different colour in order to accentuate
the Prinsentoren. A red-brown brick was selected for the
these notches: bronze-green.
Prinsentoren following consultation. The designers com-
The bronze-green bricks create a particularly special finish.
bined these bricks with a bronze-green variant in order
During production, the light coloured bricks are marlstone
to enhance the depth of the design. This varying use of
sanded. Weathering will create a colour pallet varying from
materials was consistently followed through in all sections
white to bronze-green in these wall sections - a wonderful
of the building.
contrast to the red-brown brickwork.
At almost one hundred metre high, the tower is construc-
Large sections of the wall are prefabricated. Long steel
ted from an ingenious prefab concrete shell. This shell was
frameworks form the base for a concrete element in which
the bricks are placed. The bricks are applied in a tiled
pattern. At four bricks wide and thirty bricks high, these
De architectengroep, Amsterdam
frameworks are just as large as the windows: 900 x 1800
mm. Five concrete elements are interlinked (four vertical
Atelier Pro, Den Haag
and one horizontal at the top) into the elements that were applied to the building as single units. The window units
(three frames above each other) were placed first, followed
Wienerberger Thorn â€“ Bronsgroen, hand shaped
by the brickwork panels. This innovative building method allowed construction to be executed quickly, while working at height.
Brick & technology In a prefabricated main bearing construction, the
The hand-made â€˜Bronze-green WFâ€™ bricks from the Thorn
use of single-scale wall elements is a logical choice.
brick factory were selected for the Prinsenhof project.
Bricks in prefabricated concrete elements can be a
Tiled prefab wall elements with bricks were selected early
solution for rapid construction.
in the design stage. In this type of bond with normal joint dimensions, the size difference in the bronze-green bricks
It is easy to incorporate bricks into a prefab wall element.
The shape of the bricks determines the options to a significant degree. Hand-made bricks generally have larger
The prefab wall elements are fastened to the concrete
differences in size. This has consequences for the bond
shell at the top with a wall panel anchor. At the bottom,
and joint thickness with which the bricks can be placed in
the prefab wall element is dowel jointed to the wall element
the prefab wall element.
below. Bolts are fitted as spacers in order to guarantee the distance to the shell.
With press bricks of size class 1 it is possible to use minimal head joints and edge joints.
The spatial grid creates an interplay of lines with a special
In addition, the small differences in size will only cause a
image. And the steel frameworks of the prefab wall ele-
minimal fluctuation in the brickwork bond.
ments contribute to this exceptional interplay.
CHELSEA OFFICE BUILDING, THE HAGUE
New craftsmanship ‘Without prefab we would never have been able
An exciting period of experimentation, playing with dif-
to create such a traditional pattern in the walls of
ferent patterns and designs, then started for the archi-
this building’, asserts Christian Grennan at 01-10
tect and his team, which consisted of contractor (BAM
Architects based in Rotterdam. Featuring a skin of
Utiliteitsbouw), prefab producer (Oosthoek/Kemper) and
Free2Build panels the Chelsea office building, next
Wienerberger. ‘You are involved with a completely different
to the A2 in Rijswijk, looks like a tough gatekeeper.
layer of materialisation’, says Grennan. ‘From a distance
With a sophisticated pattern and intelligent detailing,
you create a dark building with holes in it. Come closer and
the prefab brickwork gives the wall a new dimension.
you see lines, and once you are up close you can see the materials. We were translating the craftsmanship that we
On paper, Chelsea is a ‘very simple, market standard’
see in old buildings into a relatively new method.’
office building, says architect Christian Grennan. But just
A detail that frequently limits the use of prefab panels is
stacking square metres on top of each other at this high
the seam between the panels. Grennan: ‘We created extra
profile location (next to the A4, with thousands of cars pas-
horizontal and vertical seams in the panels in order to mini-
sing by every hour) would be a wasted opportunity. Said
mize that effect. Each element has a pattern size of 7.20
Grennan: ‘We have chosen to implement subtle details in
m. We based the division of the pattern on 450 mm, and
order to make the scale of the building friendlier.’
introduced a ‘seam’ at intervals of 900 mm. This is how we
Once bricks had been selected for the wall finishing, the
created a complex but consistent pattern.’
possibility of using prefabricated elements was proposed. Scaffold-free construction at the site would be desirable
The prefab panels are not only used vertically. They also
and could also reduce the building time. ‘A period then
clad the ceiling of the overhangs. ‘Prefab panels allowed
began in which we investigated what was and was not
us to do this at two places. After all, the panels are storey-
possible with prefab brickwork. The result was surprising.’
high ‘beams’ that you can slide over each other within
recalls Grennan. ‘It was possible to create patterns that
certain limits – like cardboard boxes – thereby creating
we could never have achieved with traditional brickwork.’
an overhang. “You get that constructive advantage auto-
matically,’ says Grennan. The underside of the overhang is also clad with the Free2Build panels. The architect: ‘That requires extra attention during the implementation because you have to prevent the panels from bending. This involves temporarily supporting these panels.’ Christian Grennan is equally enthusiastic about the bricks that were used: ‘The bricks have an interesting mix of colours. We wanted very dark bricks that were also lively and subtle. We opted for deep joints that create a shadow in the brickwork in order to accentuate the colour.’
Architectural office: 01-10 Architecten bv, Rotterdam Architect: Nico Brouwer / Christian Grennan Prefab producer: Oosthoek/Kemper, Tilburg Facing bricks: Wienerberger Buchwaldchen – Dresden, extruded Details: Free2Build - Prefabricated facade elements
Castle Getsewoud, Nieuw-Vennep
Fairytale spectacle Bronsvoort Blaak Architects designed a residential
facing the south, one to the east and one to the west. The
tower as one of the two urban landmarks for the new
two pent houses which look out over the new residential
Getsewoud residential district in Getsewoud, Nieuw-
district like turrets with high windows are located on the
Vennep. With a dense brickwork exterior, the tower
top floor of the high tower. The houses in the front tower
was given a robust, medieval appearance that has
also face south. This made it possible to create large clo-
been refined with subtle details.
sed areas on the northern approach – the side with the moat – giving the towers a solid look.
Fifty one apartments and a car park, along with a day-care
The towers were created with robust brickwork, incor-
centre and canteen for mentally disabled residents, are hou-
porating blocks placed both vertically and horizontally as
sed in the complex on the north-eastern side of Getsewoud.
well as protruding partially from the surface of the wall.
The requirements for the urban development stated that the
Undulating joints and sintered bricks – not usually seen in
complex must have ‘a castle-like image’. This prompted
neat brickwork – play a leading role in this chaotic exterior
the architects to give the building the appearance of forts
finish. The frames were also given special treatment. They
from the 11th and 12th centuries which are typified by bare,
were set back as much as possible, creating a large niche
partially weathered masses of stone with modest window
further accentuating the brickwork and making it look even
This is why the design included characteristic elements that reflect the look of a castle – a sober primary shape that is
Nuances in shape and material
divided into towers, a moat, an undulating wall, tower rooms
In order to create a solid appearance of mass stone, the
and a royal bay window. The architects opted for a combina-
primary shape of the main building was rejuvenated and
tion of a plinth, a low watch tower and a high, fourteen-storey
vertical notches were created in the high walls. The north
tower for the overall design concept.
wall has also been given a special feature in the form of a protruding conservatory. Furthermore, the brickwork is
Tower residences in a chaotic setting
not only heavy and solid – the sintered bricks also create
The car park and the day-care centre are incorporated into
a special effect. Although they may be black and therefore
the plinth while the houses are located in the towers. Each
seem to be hardly noticeable, the shiny layer on the bricks
floor of the high tower has four residences, two of which are
makes the surface of the brickwork glisten in a certain light.
Bronsvoort Blaak Architecten BNA, Amerongen
Facing bricks: Wienerberger Nuance - Heukelom, hand shaped
BRICK & TECHNOLOGY FREE BRICKWORK AND EXPANSION JOINTS One of the features of free masonry is a random pat-
why the vertical expansion joints at the corners of Kasteel
tern in which no cohesion and regularity is notice-
Getsewoud were created at a different angle to the
able in the brickwork, this technique was employed
brickwork. This choice minimises the effect of the vertical
heavily in this project.
expansion joint on the random pattern.
Laying free brickwork masonry is not a simple task.
Horizontal expansion joints are also required because of
Bricklayers must devote extra attention to creating irregu-
the building height but brickwork supports must be applied
larity with no recognisable patterns throughout the wall.
to create the envisaged random pattern. By not allowing
This is particularly important around the edges and holes
the pattern near the brickwork supports to deviate exces-
in the brickwork, such as window frames and door frames.
sively from the horizontal positioning, the designer has created a flowing progression from the brickwork support
Because of the dimensions of the brickwork walls, vertical
to the remaining random brickwork.
and horizontal expansion joints are necessary. However,
For this, the brickwork immediately above and below the
in general, expansion joints consist of straight lines that
brickwork support is somewhat more regular than in the
can affect the irregular look of the free brickwork. This is
rest of the wall.
Skoatterwâld housing development, Heerenveen
Tangible architecture Skoatterwâld , a new housing development based
The latter in particular will be an asset for Heerenveen, sta-
on the urban development design created by Ashok
tes architect Ed Lensink at Martini Architekten. ‘Heerenveen
Balothra at Kuiper Compagnons, is taking shape to
is well known for football and skating, but not for its plea-
the east of Heerenveen, adjacent to Oranjewoud.
sant city centre. You have to know it very well in order to
This plan incorporates a series of water features and
discover its charm. It is also very difficult to find historical
a wide variety of house types. The Groningen based
references in Heerenveen for the architecture in this new
firm Martini Architekten designed the houses on
residential area.’ Lensink therefore sought very different
the Waterrand, the banks of a water feature which
sources for his ideas for the 66 houses on the Waterrand.
will be central to the second phase of the project.
‘The desire was to give the district a 1930’s image. I was
The architecture of the houses is certainly striking,
inspired by the architects at the time of Berlage, particularly
with classic lines and dark brickwork with accents
in terms of the timeless look of their buildings. I wanted to
in white concrete and slate grey ceramic tiles on
give the houses in Skoatterwâld that quality – to make the
the roofs. Architect Ed Lensink opted for ‘a timeless
architectural history tangible with a design that reflected
design that makes our architectural history tangible’.
The district of Skoatterwâld is a major expansion of
The location of the houses in the plan required a powerful
Heerenveen. The second phase of construction of the new
design. ‘In fact, the plan consists of two long walls oppo-
residential district is well underway and includes a sports
site each other, with a water feature in between. The water
complex, shopping centre and schools. It is located very
feature is approximately 100 metres wide. Houses will also
close to the village of Oranjewoud, its stunning water-
be constructed in the water in a subsequent phase. We
ways, and home to the prize-winning museum park and
wanted to create a peaceful decor with the houses.’
Belvédère museum. This is a new city under development,
The houses are located almost directly on the street, on
with a range of facilities, and the promise of green surroun-
both sides of the water feature. They are ‘lifted’ to a height
dings and a residential environment that has character.
of seventy centimetres above ground level, so that a good
view over the parked cars and the water is possible from
the ground floor. ‘This is why there are small pavements’,
Architektenbureau Martini BV, Groningen
explains Lensink. ‘The houses are wheel chair accessible at the rear.’ Another measure taken to ensure that the decor
is an elongated unit is the continuous strip of brickwork at
the height of the first floor. Lensink: ‘This strip of brickwork, at a height of more than five metres, and the metal frames
between the columns create a row despite the fact that
Wienerberger Heteren - Galaxy bruin, extruded
there is a range of free-standing houses, semi-detached and social housing.’
Roof tiles: Wienerberger Tegelen - Madura Slate matt engobe
Despite the classic image, the details are completely contemporary. For example, the frames are placed behind the brickwork with deep reveals. At a number of places in the wall, large windows have been framed with prefab concrete elements with a light colour that contrasts sharply with the other wall materials. Horizontal lines in the project are accentuated with prefab elements, also in clear white. The brickwork is constructed from brown box bricks, a dark brick that reflects the water beautifully. ‘Photos usually do not do justice to the bricks’, says Lensink. ‘In reality the bricks glisten even more. Then we found that the dark colour was a wonderful contrast with the bricks in the houses behind them, which have a contemporary pastel shade. Although you have to be careful with dark bricks – it is a growing trend!’ The brickwork bond is not entirely modern - a classic half brick, with a medium grey joint ‘so that you can see the bricks’, and has been laid with a traditional sharp method.
Bow to the landscape A round house with a garden on all sides. This was
for a warm brick and had seen a comparable grade at a
the simple brief for the architects designing the new
project in Groningen. It is also rough brick, with conside-
family house in the district of Mikkelhorst in Haren. The
rable burrs, which is certainly appropriate for the character
local council had released ten plots with very ambiti-
of this project’. Moulds were used in order to be able to
ous sustainable construction targets. In consultation
lay the bricks in an oval shape. The rough shape of the
with the future resident, GDA Architects developed a
brick makes it impossible to lay bricks directly against the
striking house that literally looks proudly into the land-
mould. This is why an optically evaluated gap of 2 cm was
scape through the new district.
used. According to Van Wieren, the result is ‘still pretty neat’. He is also satisfied with the contrast of the brickwork
The ten plots in the Mikkelhorst development are at the
with the light, wood frames. ‘The brickwork connects the
edge of the district and are deep and narrow in shape. The
house firmly to the ground. The windows and doors are like
site allocated to the owner of Architects GDA was oriented
chunks taken out of the shell – you can see the ‘flesh of
along a precise north-south axis. In the urban development
the fruit’ inside. In combination with the shape this gives the
plan, created by Rob Hendriks at bureau DAAD, these plots
house a definite bow form in the landscape.’
literally form the transition from residential area to landscape and are subject to stringent regulations imposed by the urban
development plan and the council. They even specified the
GDA bv, Bauke Tuinstra Doeke van Wieren Architecten bv
position of the house within the plot, designated a permanent
separation of the plots with mesh gabions and trees, and the council has set the ‘sustainable bar’ very high for the purcha-
sers. Architect Doeke van Wieren recalls that the sustainabi-
Doeke van Wieren
lity targets of the council scared a number of buyers away: ‘The council was fairly strict. A plan with insufficient sustaina-
bility features was sufficient reason not to grant a plot. Our
Wienerberger Schouterden – Hektiek, extruded
ambitions were extremely extensive and included measures such as solar photo voltaic panels, sustainable materials, a
grey water circuit and heat pump.’
Exciting profile For this particular plot, the building was sited close to the street. Van Wieren: ‘Because the plots are so narrow there is a danger that the building cuts the garden into two pieces. This is partly what prompted the oval shape – it makes the front garden flow naturally into the back garden. You have a continuous wall, no clearly defined front, side or back garden.’ The oval floor plan is accentuated by a difference in building height. On the north side – where the majority of the garden is located – the building is three storeys high. This makes the house point towards the landscape like the bow of a ship. ‘The layout of the building is also oriented to the north side’, says Van Wieren. ‘The south side is actually a large car port. The routing of the house passes precisely over the axis of the oval. The unusual profile of the house is created by the small layout on the first floor, with only bedrooms and bathrooms, and the modest attic is used as a storage space.’ Chunks out of the shell The brickwork wall ‘hangs around the house like a coat’, explains the architect. ‘The intention was to create a nuanced wall, not one single, even colour. We were also searching