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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 |


Editor’s Vision

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

Wienerberger Ltd

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

Sarah Jackson

and laid brick by brick, can be used to create incredible, landmark buildings, some

Aparna Gondekar

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

SpringDesign, ‘s-Hertogenbosch

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

Architectural office:

pattern. At four bricks wide and thirty bricks high, these

De architectengroep, Amsterdam

frameworks are just as large as the windows: 900 x 1800

KraaijvangersUrbis, Rotterdam

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

Facing bricks:

(three frames above each other) were placed first, followed

Wienerberger Thorn – 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 ‘Bronze-green WF’ 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.

are invisible.

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.



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


more solid.

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.


Architectural office:


Bronsvoort Blaak Architecten BNA, Amerongen

Wild bond

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 1930s.’

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

Architectural office:

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

Ed Lensink

the height of the first floor. Lensink: ‘This strip of brickwork, at a height of more than five metres, and the metal frames

Facing bricks:

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.


House, Haren

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

Architectural office:

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

bna, Burdaard

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-

Facing bricks:

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.’

Thin-jointed masonry

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


Vision Issue 1