And the winner is... The UK Brick Awards 2012

Clay Technology magazine
11 Dec 2012

The UK Brick Awards 2012 saw a record turnout and some of the best entries to date. Melanie Rutherford went along to find out what made this year’s winning contractors, brickmakers and architects stand out from the rest.  

A record number of entries was matched by record attendance at the 2012 Brick Awards, proving that despite tough economic times, the brick industry won’t be knocked down. With dinner suits and cocktail dresses dusted off, on 13 November 2012 the industry’s leading architects, brick manufacturers and contractors gathered at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London for the annual awards dinner. Champagne flowed, speeches were applauded and loud cheers given to the deserving winners of the 16 hard-fought categories, which celebrated industry design, materials and craftsmanship.  

Undoubtedly the star of the night was the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) in Belfast, UK, which not only scooped the Best Public Building Award but also the Supreme Award, the BDA’s Building of the Year. Completed in February 2012 by Grove Builders Ltd, the MAC refl ects its location and surrounding heritage of mills and warehouses. Hackett Hall McKnight Architects wanted brick to feature both internally and externally – the expansive atrium is dominated by a four-storey wall of basalt columns along one side, which complement well-proportioned windows. The use of Wienerberger Mellowed Red Sovereign Stock brick reflects the regularity of bricks typically used in Belfast in the 19th and 20th centuries. Praising its use of natural light, one judge said it feels ‘almost external when you are wandering through the internal spaces’. Judges commented that the ‘fantastic building’ boasts wonderful framing with ‘brick centralised as the most dominant feature’, and that ‘every room was wonderful’.  

Throughout the evening, a further 15 projects were honoured – here’s what earned them a coveted trophy…  


Architect’s Choice Award 
North London Hospice (right), London, UK 
A carefully thought-out building with beautifully detailed brick used internally and externally to its full potential, which judges described as a ‘sophisticated response’ to an under-used suburban environment. A collection of pictures gives the ground floor art therapy area a gallery atmosphere. Upper floors offer practical treatment rooms and administration spaces, while the kitchen-dining space at the heart of the building enhances the communal experience.  

Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris  

Brickwork contractor: Pavehall  

Brick: Wienerberger Ltd – Marziale Brick  

Best Housing Development  
(1–5 units)  
Four Oaks, Wiltshire, UK  
‘The highlight of all my viewings this year,’ said one judge. On first glance it appears that Four Oaks was carved out of a solid mass, an impression achieved through the use of acute brushwork details on the mortar joints. The architects’ design was hailed by the judges as ‘ambitious’ with ‘the rhythm of the landscape setting off the brickwork’. The building was noted for its attention to detail in the use of handmade bricks of varying size and blend, which feature strongly inside as well as out.  

Architect: ZMMA  

Brickwork contractor: Daniel’s Traditional Carpentry  

Brick: The York Handmade Brick Co Ltd – Bespoke Blend  

Best Housing Development  
(6–25 units)  
Horsted Park, Kent, UK  
Most definitely ‘not the run-of-the-mill’ development, said judges, Horsted Park makes use of traditional construction methods with close attention to detail. Admired for its brickwork, the Kent development is a pleasant living environment in an attractive setting, thanks to manicured landscaping and substantial views.  

Architect: Proctor Matthews  

Brickwork contractor: Flahive Brickwork  

Brick: Hanson Building Products Ltd – Chelsea Smoked Red and Dark Moroccan Smooth  

Best Housing Development  
(26 units or more)  
Student Accommodation, Somerville College, Oxford, UK  
Deemed ‘impressive’ and ‘high quality’ by the judging panel, this student housing encompasses exposed brickwork and clever use of natural ventilation and space. Careful consideration was given to the existing surrounding brickwork, with ‘neat and sharp’ details throughout.  

Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects  

Brickwork contractor: Explore Manufacturing  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – Reigate Purple Multi Volume Housebuilding Award  

Barratt: Barrier Park Block B&C and Canada Waters Blocks A1&A2, London, UK; Old Merchant Taylors, Herts, UK Judges complimented this large housing development for the relationship between the brickwork and its contextual setting, with the consensus that all three sites offer a safe, stimulating environment for their respective homeowners.  

Architect and brickwork contractor: Barratt East London/Barratt North London  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – Ashdown Bexhill Dark; Millburn Ashen Brown Blend/Queensbury Yellow; Mellow Regent/Artbury Red/Audley Red/Lambourn Orange  

Best Commercial Building

Science Studios, Stroud, UK  
With one judge deeming the technical virtuosity of the brickwork as ‘spectactular’, this winning entry displayed skill in producing a skin of white glazed bricks with impressive 4mm joints. A ‘meticulously detailed’ building with attention to detail throughout.  

Architect: Designscape Architects  

Brickwork contractor: Portcliff Building Services  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – White Glazed  

Best Education Building 
Henrietta Barnett School, London, UK  
Said by judges to be ‘poetic in its three-dimensionality’ given that it was ‘the most impossible site to build on’, this unconventional school building can be described as modernist in traditional clothing, thanks to well-laid brickwork with an interesting detail reflecting the floor beams. Use of soft red brick complements the existing Lutyens building and adds warmth to the suburban garden setting.  

Architect: Hopkins Architects Partnership LLP  

Brickwork contractor: Moss Barrett Construction Ltd  

Brick: Michelmersh Brick Holdings Plc and Lambs – Charnwood Light Victoria Red Handmade, Charnwood Hampshire Red Handmade, Charnwood Windsor Red Multi Handmade, Lambs Ash Grey Glazed Bricks  

Best Refurbishment and Rennovation Project

Kitfield Avenue, Cheshire, UK  
Gaining praise from judges for the thermal performance of the material used, the renovation project features insulation and brick slips, which where pointed up to achieve a brick skin to fit in with the surrounding street. While maintaining ‘attractive’ aesthetics, the building used a brick system offering residents enhanced comfort and fuel economy that was described as ‘impressive, and eminently practical and straightforward’.  

Architect: Plus Dane Group  

Brickwork contractor: Aldridge Property Services  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – Brickshield using Brunswick Mixture  

Best Outdoor Space  
The Yard, University of Roehampton, London, UK  
Consistency of detail ‘staggered’ the judges who visited this generous social space at the heart of the London university.  

Architect: Henley Halebrown Rorrison  

Brickwork contractor: Exel Construction  

Brick: Wienerberger Ltd – Herne Dark Brindled Slimpave  

Innovative Use of Brick and Clay Products  
West Hampstead Station, London, UK Probably the only station you won’t mind waiting around at should you miss your train. This ‘beautifully pieced together’ building used glazed brick that was specially commissioned for the project, providing a precedent for the brick industry. The carefully chosen brick was laid with absolute accuracy, with movement joints displaying attention to detail.  

Architect: Landolt and Brown  

Brickwork contractor: Irvine Whitlock  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – Umbra Sawtooth Glazed Brick  

Best International Project  
House On Mount Anville, Dublin, Ireland  
It was a case of out with a 1920s bungalow and in with this new brick house, which was successfully knitted into the existing streetscape despite its bold form and layout. The carefully detailed, well constructed brick envelope boasts a sustainable design that wins this house an A energy rating, with judges considering this an elegant and skilfully crafted brick project.  

Architect: Aughey O’Flaherty Architects  

Brickwork contractor: Smithcon Building Contractors  

Brick: Ibstock Brick Ltd – Birtley Olde English Buff  

Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year  
PLF Ltd – Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, UK; Gateacre & Hope Schools, Liverpool, UK, Litherland High School, Litherland, UK  

A ‘worthy winner’, said judges, with all three builds deemed highly skilful, fashionable, well-built and free from blemishes. Gateacre & Hope School was noted for its excellent recess details and complementary brickwork, while Litherland High received praise for its buff brick built to a meticulously high standard. Judges couldn’t fault the ‘tour de force’ of brickwork, Chetham School of Music, describing the building as ‘an outstanding showcase for brick’.  

Architect: Roger Stephenson Architects, BDP Architects, Sheppar Robson  

Brickwork contractor and brick: York Handmade Brick Co Ltd – Chetham Blend; Ibstock Brick Ltd – Stuart Buff and KGB Glazed; Hanson Building Products Ltd – Smooth Blues and Thorsby Buff Multi  

Best Craftsmanship Award  
Tupgill Cellar, North Yorkshire, UK  

An array of atmospheric spaces are surrounded by meticulous brick detailing in this ‘bonkers but brilliant’ wine cellar. A wide variety of handmade specials were personally designed by the brickmaker.   

Further information  
For pictures of the Awards evening and full details of the winners and project teams, visit the BDA website: