Vision The creativity of brick
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Vision is a publication of:
Welcome to the latest edition of Wienerberger Vision, a magazine for architects and
designers from the world’s largest brick manufacturer. Within these pages you’ll find a selection of case studies showcasing the creative and ingenious use of brick in
buildings and construction projects across the UK and further afield.
Michael Driver Sarah Jackson
As one of the oldest building materials in existence, the ‘humble brick’ has a rich his-
tory dating back thousands of years. Despite its heritage, brick products still inspire
the world’s leading architects and designers to create exceptional, modern and
environmentally sound buildings which capture the imagination and leave a lasting impression.
Photography Ruud Pejinenburg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
From bus shelters to retirement villages, the following case studies reflect the diverse
Andrew Smith, SG Photography
nature of brick in 21st Century architecture. With numerous textures, finishes, colours
Tim Saw, Valency Engine
and shapes, brick can offer architects limitless inspiration to fit any project in any environment.
Design SpringDesign, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
We hope this collection of works, reflecting Wienerberger’s diverse product portfolio
Kingsford Imaging Limited
will inspire you to see beyond the ‘humble brick’ and explore its many possibilities.
Content The Women’s Organisation, Liverpool A New Liverpool Icon
Market Bus Shelter, Uden, Netherlands On the Crest of a Wave
Birtle Brook Retirement Village, Bury Industry and Innovation
Residential House, Haren, Netherlands Housing Project Ahead of the Curve
CAFOD, London A Hub of Inspiration
THE WOMEN’S ORGANISATION, LIVERPOOL
A New Liverpool Icon The Women’s Organisation (formerly Train 2000)
coffee-shop. It has three identical floors above, each with
was established on Merseyside in 1996. Since
a kitchen and sitting area and a number of different sized
then, it has helped thousands of women to create
offices and meeting rooms. The entire top floor is occupied
and develop businesses across the North West.
by a large conference suite which can be sub-divided by
In 2009, the organisation appointed architect Katy
elegant partitions, as required. The top floor of the building
Heath, Principal of Nightingale Associates’ Liverpool
is deliberately set back to allow for a number of terraces
office, to design a new building for the Women’s
with views over the city to the Mersey or back up the slope
International Centre for Economic Development
to the sandstone glory of the Anglican Cathedral that rises
(WICED). The building is designed to be the hub for
above the site.
international research on female entrepreneurship as well as providing enterprise support, including space
It is the elevations that set the building apart. The concept
for up to 80 business units to help women start their
is that the building is surrounded by a glass curtain which
is contained by vertical brick panels that run from ground to third floor and sometimes billows out of the constraints
The chosen site was a brownfield plot on the corner of
to enclose the staircase, a full height atrium and the less
St. James Street and Watkinson Street in the middle of
formal spaces, such as the coffee shop and ‘hot desk’
the area that the City hopes will develop into its ‘creative
centre’. It is a rectangular site open on two sides, set in the context of traditional brick-built warehouses six and seven
The vertical brick panels are a direct reference to the
brickwork of the City’s existing warehouses. The sixstorey wall of the traditionally styled warehouse is formed
The client is on record as wanting an ‘iconic’ building
as a number of vertical panels punctuated by the regular
and the architect has delivered by producing a stunning
rhythm of the recessed hoist ways. Historically, a cart
building that will always stand out as a ‘one-off’ because
would pull up alongside the building and the cargo would
of the way the elevations have been handled.
be hoisted up in the recessed area. Here, the recess in the brick skin is formed by bull-nosed bricks which are also
The plan is straightforward: a ground floor comprising
used around the window and door openings.
the entrance, an open office for the Organisation and a
The bull-nose theme is carried into the interior where,
instead of sharp corners to the brick panels, these return
to the glazed skin through a bull-nosed brick. The brick selected is the Desimpel â€˜Heritage Blendâ€™ which has a
heavy texture to avoid hard smooth corners and both
the colour and the texture reinforce the reference to the existing vernacular.
Facing bricks: Desimpel Heritage Blend
Inside, the building is bright and welcoming. The floorto-floor height is generous and the entrance with the atrium above gives the building a visual focus. There is no doubt that the client is delighted with the building, which manages to both draw on the past and set the standard for the future.
BRICK & TECHNOLOGY Unique and Subtle The Desimpel bricks have been produced in Belgium for nearly 200 years. They retain the unique characteristics of hand-moulded bricks with a creased texture, subtly irregular shape and warm blended reds, yellows and brindles. Each brick is moulded to create a subtle texture and the ability to blend different bricks means that a bespoke solution can be provided for each situation.
Market Bus Shelter, Uden, Netherlands
On the Crest of a Wave Bonnemayer, a local firm of architects, has recently
designed a new bus shelter for the Market Square
Bonnemayer Architects, Netherlands
in Uden, the Netherlands. The building is part of a comprehensive scheme to upgrade the Square which
includes new streetlights, benches, rubbish bins, and
Special shaped bricks, Wave bricks
telephone boxes. The bus shelter is an important element of the scheme and the brief suggested that it should be a neat, modern design. The architect responded by designing a building that consisted of a simple flat roof supported in part by a solid elliptical block and in part by a set of columns. This simple but multi-purpose building fulfils three functions. The solid elliptical block contains a public lavatory designed to allow access for the disabled and a transformer room that will supply power to special events held in the Square, such as a fun-fair or ‘Uden on Ice’. The covered area, which is illuminated at night by multi-coloured LED lights, provides shelter and seating for passengers waiting for buses and taxis. The elliptical block has been designed to minimise the risk of graffiti and illegal bill-posting. The external skin is formed from black ‘wave bricks’ from Wienerberger. These undulating bricks have been laid vertically to accommodate the tight radius of the ellipse. The vertical courses are displaced from each other by half a brick, creating a striking pattern, reminiscent of basket-weave or a reptile’s skin that is difficult to deface with graffiti or posters. It is an excellent example of how the creative use of a standard product can result in something truly remarkable.
The Birtle Brook Retirement Village, Bury
Industry and Innovation In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the
a fishing lake, a crown bowling green and a pavilion
new mills used water power to drive machinery and
building which also houses the bistro that is open to all.
consequently they were sited in valleys adjacent to
The new cottages face up the slope towards the dam
rivers. One such example is Birtle Mill, originally built
with their backs to the original wall of the mill that fronts
for â€˜bleaching and finishingâ€™. It is located between
Bury and Rochdale towards the hamlet within a conservation area which has a strict green belt
The development to the east of the road is nearing
regulation. No longer used for its original purpose,
completion. It is entered from a small forecourt and
the site and its neglected buildings were purchased
a gateway in an existing building. Once through the
by Pinnacle Living in 2005, with the express purpose
gateway, there is a large courtyard, surrounded on three
of creating a retirement village made up of properties
sides by cottages, some of which are single-aspect
to rent for tenants aged fifty-five and over.
Brent Miller, Chairman of Pinnacle Living, was an
The cottages have been built from a mixture of brick
experienced hand in the contracting business and
and stone. The stone was quarried locally and is used
he was confident he could create an outstanding
for buildings that have been added to the plan whilst
development on the site. He turned to Paul Clark of
brick is used on the buildings set on the original lines
C.J.Architects, a well-established Rochdale practice,
of the mill.
to help him in the process of rejuvenating the historic site. Paul immediately saw the potential of the existing
The design of the brick elevations is interesting. A terrace
buildings as a framework around which Brentâ€™s vision for
of cottages is expressed as a number of openings within
the site could be delivered.
a large brick wall. The openings are contained within a stone surround, but they are subservient to the brick
Over the years, the mill had expanded to include both
wall which, notionally, is the original wall of the mill.
sides of the Birtle Road. To the west above the mill, the
The head of the wall finishes as a parapet, the strong
best way to appreciate the scope of the site is to climb to
horizontal coping emphasising the primary importance
the top of the dam and look eastwards down the valley.
of the brickwork. This theme is consistent throughout
The regeneration of the site is impressive. In the space
the development and provides the project with much of
between the dam and before the buildings there is now
In order to translate the design concept into a sustainable physical reality, it was important to select a brick that was a close match to the historic original. The architect’s choice was the ‘Oakwood Multi’ a robust brick, available in both metric and imperial sizes. A great deal of care was also taken with the choice of mortar and finishes to create an authentic and aesthetically pleasing end result. Wherever a mill has been built, there are associated workers’ cottages and it is this existing housing that gives a context to Birtle Brook. This is not an isolated moorland development but a much-loved addition to the landscape with its own sense of space and a spectacular countryside setting.
Architectural office: CJ Partnership Architects Architect: Paul Allison Facing bricks: Terca Oakwood Multi (73 mm)
BRICK & TECHNOLOGY Mix and Match There are over one thousand bricks available in the UK, so there is plenty of scope to make a successful match.
In a brick wall, brick makes 82% of the
surface and mortar 18%. Mortar will moderate the appearance of a brick, so matching the mortar to colour and finish is important. You should match a brick first for size, then texture and finally colour. Weathering will always change the colour of a brick so specifiers have to decide at what point the match is to be made. Size and texture are given, colour is variable and if a precise seamless match is required then consider brick-tinting.
Residential House, Haren, Netherlands
Housing Project Ahead of the Curve ‘A round house with the garden on all sides’ was the
Chunks out of the skin
simple brief given to GDA Architects, commissioned
The brickwork wall ‘hangs around the house like a coat’,
to build a new family house in the Mikkelhorst district
explains the architect. ’The intention was to create a wall
of Haren. The house was to be designed on one of
with a variety of shades rather than a single even colour.
ten plots released by the local council, who imposed
We were also searching for a warm brick and saw just what
ambitious sustainable construction targets which had
we wanted on a project in Groningen. It was a rough brick
to be met by the developers. After close consultation
with a deep texture which we thought was appropriate
with the client, the architects have produced a striking
for this project.’ Formers were used in order to enable the
house that stands proudly looking out over the
bricklayers to lay to an oval shape, however the texture
landscape from a newly created residential district.
of the brick made it impossible to lay directly against the formers and it was necessary to introduce 20mm perpends
The ten plots are on the edge of the Mikkelhorst district.
to make it work. Van Wieren thinks the result is ‘pretty
They are all long and narrow and the plot assigned to
neat’ and likes the contrast of the brickwork with the light,
GDA Architects is orientated along a precise north-south
wooden frames. ‘The brickwork connects the house firmly
In the Urban Development Plan produced by Rob
to the ground,’ he concludes. ‘The windows and doors are
Hendriks, the plots form the transition from the residential
like chunks torn out of the skin revealing the ‘flesh of the
area to the landscape. The Urban Development Plan and
fruit’ inside. This, combined with its shape, gives the house
the local council imposed stringent conditions on any
the form of a bow sitting in the landscape.’
development, specifying the position of the house within the plot and requiring a permanent demarcation of the plots
with mesh gabions and trees. Architect Doeke van Wieren
Bauke Tuinstra van Wieren Architects
believes that the high sustainability targets set by the Council may have scared away a number of developers: ‘The
Council was very strict. A plan with insufficient sustainability
Doeke Van Wieren
features would not be granted a plot. Ambitions were high and included measures like solar photovoltaic panels,
sustainable materials, a grey water circuit and a heat pump.’
Terca Hectic Red
Exciting profile On the GDA plot, the building was sited close to the street, which presented its own problems as Van Wieren explains: ‘Because the plots are so narrow, there is the danger of the building cutting the garden in two. This is partly what prompted the oval shape – it makes the front garden flow naturally into the back garden. The house has a continuous wall with 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 building point towards the landscape like the prow of a ship. ‘The layout of the building is also orientated to the north side’ says Van Wieren. ‘The south side is actually a large car-port. The axis of the house aligns with the axis of the oval. The unusual profile of the house is created by the small plan area on the first floor, with only bedrooms and bathrooms and the modest attic is used as storage space.’
A Hub of Inspiration Overseas
The atrium is a spectacular top-lit space. The solid
Development) is an international charity running
balustrades at the half level are set back at an angle above
projects in 40 countries. Designed by Black
each other, giving the whole volume a dynamic upward
Architecture, the new headquarters for the CAFOD
movement. It is a space to be enjoyed as well as used,
is sited on the Westminster Bridge Road adjacent
especially as the highest balcony opens out onto a roof
to Pugin’s St George’s Cathedral. It is a difficult
terrace which is available to all staff.
triangular site but Black Architecture has risen to the challenge and produced a building that succeeds on
Considerations of sustainability were uppermost in the
minds of both client and architect. In common with other BREEAM excellent buildings, much of the building’s
It is generally recognised that a successful building is the
technology is hidden away. There is a ground source
result of a creative dialogue between the client and the
heating and cooling system that operates through pipes
design team. In this case, the firm - which describes itself
cast in the concrete floor slabs. The thermal mass of the
as a small but feisty architectural practice specialising
concrete is used to store thermal energy from the ground
in designing buildings with sustainability at their core -
source system at night, thereby offsetting the heating
worked with a charity keen to commission a building that
and cooling loads the following day. The building also
demonstrated the ‘live simply’ philosophy at the heart of
incorporates a mixed mode ventilation system. There
is natural ventilation through opening windows and a displacement ventilation system that ensures indoor air
The building has three major components. A set of open
quality during winter and summer peaks. Photovoltaic and
office floors that run into the apex of the triangular site
solar thermal arrays, set amongst the green and brown
which are linked to a set of ancillary spaces across an
roofs, provide on-site renewable energy, whilst lavatories
atrium that extends through the height of the building.
are flushed with rainwater from the roof.
The ancillary spaces are kitchens, rest rooms and meeting rooms and they are located at the half-level between floors.
The building incorporates a rich variety of materials but
Thus, the atrium becomes the focal point of the building,
the predominant feature of the office façade is brick. It is
providing opportunities for people from different floors to
immediately clear from the elevations that this is a framed
meet in shared facilities.
building clad in brick. The brick panels are designed to brick dimensions whilst depth in the façade is provided by
metal linings to the openings. The brick used is the Smeed
Dean Belgrave Yellow stock, set off by a recessed dark
Black Architecture Ltd.
mortar. This is an excellent match for the yellow London stock bricks traditionally used in the surrounding area. The
ancillary volumes are clad in an interlocking metal finish,
which provides a continuous surface in contrast to the regularity of the brick panels.
Facing bricks: Terca Smeed Dean Belgrave Yellow
The longer the client uses the building, the more it is appreciated. It is economical to run and the choice of materials has ensured long-term sustainability. Most importantly, perhaps, it has provided the staff with an enjoyable and inspirational place to work.
BRICK & TECHNOLOGY A rich heritage Smeed Dean Belgrave Yellow Stock is one of a number of London stock bricks still made at the Smeed Dean works in Sittingbourne. The works has been in operation since the 1840s making traditional London stock bricks. In the 19th century, the bricks were transported to London by barge and the ballast for the return journey was made up of ash from the City’s fireplaces. This ‘town ash’, stockpiled on site, is still used as an important raw material constituent of the brick which gives it its characteristic ‘ironspotting’ appearance.
The creativity of brick Wienerberger Ltd Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8...