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Vision The creativity of brick

Wienerberger Ltd Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8200 | F 0161 491 6529 architects@wienerberger.co.uk | www.brick.co.uk


Issue 3


Editor’s note

Vision is a publication of:

Welcome to the latest edition of Wienerberger Vision, a magazine for architects and

Wienerberger Ltd

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-

Debbie Garritty

tory dating back thousands of years. Despite its heritage, brick products still inspire

Aparna Gondekar

the world’s leading architects and designers to create exceptional, modern and

Heather Butler

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




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

own businesses.

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

areas above.

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

storeys high.

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,

Architectural office:

instead of sharp corners to the brick panels, these return

Nightingale Associates

to the glazed skin through a bull-nosed brick. The brick selected is the Desimpel ‘Heritage Blend’ which has a


heavy texture to avoid hard smooth corners and both

Phil Vincent

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

Architectural office:

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

Facing bricks:

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 ‘bleaching and finishing’. It is located between

the road.

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 Brent’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

its continuity.


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

Architectural office:

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,

Facing bricks:

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

many levels.

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

their work.

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

Architectural office:

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,

Desmond O’dwen

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.


Profile for Wienerberger AG

Vision 3  

The creativity of brick Wienerberger Ltd Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8...

Vision 3  

The creativity of brick Wienerberger Ltd Wienerberger House, Brooks Drive Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3SA T 0161 491 8...

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