Innovation at the brick awards

Clay Technology magazine
26 Oct 2018

Clay Technology takes a look at the projects shortlisted for the innovation category at the Brick Awards 2018, by the Brick Development Association. 

Project: Coate Street
Architect: Urban Mesh Design
Brick Manufacturer: HG Matthews

Urban Mesh opted for a concentrated brick façade, paying particular attention to the public-facing aspects of the building.

The architect decided to work with HG Matthews to develop a new brick specifically for the project. Previously a variant of the Black Volcano brick had been used internally as a slip in a tiled application and with further iterations of the glazing process developed using the tradition of salt glaze feature bricks, here the brick manufacturer has created a new glazing process, introducing salts at particular times and managing firing cycles to produce a pearlescent coating that varies in appearance through the day. A matching cold glaze was also developed for the corner bricks, which were cut and stuck to accommodate the 94° angle of the building. As stretchers were laid with a 20mm extrusion, glazing was carried around to the stretcher face as well as a 30mm band to all adjacent sides.

Project: Step House
Architect: Bureau de Change
Brick Manufacturer: Reclaimed brick

Instead of only using glass, which might be the most likely choice, this project uses brick to reimagine the common terraced-house extension. By stacking ordinary bricks reclaimed from other areas of the same house, the extension is in-keeping with the c

urrent materials and adds an element of sculptural style.

Looking over the construction from above, it features a different silhouette than more traditional building extensions. The approach of using exposed brick respects the houses’s original 

aesthetic while the design adding something new and different.

Project: Television Centre
Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Brick Manufacturer: Coleford

Lyons & Annoot have recently provided handset brickwork balconies to Television Centre. The building comprises curved elevations with a vast quantity of both inset and protruding balconies. Due to the streamlined façade programme, the curved elevations were built from traditional scaffold that required being adapted many times in order to accommodate the various inset and protruding balconies, adding considerable cost and programme implications, not to mention increased logisitics and safety considerations. Instead, the scaffold went up and down with no special balcony adaptions required. The brickwork balconies were built onto steel frames on the deck to match the exacting standards of the curved façade elevations. These were then craned into place.

Project: George Davies Centre
Architect: Associated Architects
Brick Manufacturer: Ibstock Brick Ltd.

Aiming to be sustainable, The George Davies Centre is the largest non-residential building in the UK to meet the Passivhaus standard. The building has a 150m2 photovoltaic array, heat recovery ventilation, triple glazed windows and a brise soleil structure. It also has one of the country’s largest green walls with 17 species of plants to stimulate pollination, increase bio-diversity and improve local air quality.

The design execution, by Willmott Dixon, was heavily reliant on building information modeling technology and the offsite manufacture of cladding and curtain walling on the upper storeys for quality and precision. The building’s façade combines traditional masonry brick and block cavity walls, filled with 300mm of cavity insulation on the ground and first floor levels, with 2,500m2 of FastClad rainscreen brick slip on the upper storeys, all using Cheddar Red Brick from Ibstock, laid in stretcher bond with lime mortar. Coupling lightweight and real bricks has produced a seamless, natural appearance that sits well with the local surroundings.

Project: Tate Modern Seating
Architect: Tank Boys
Brick Manufacturer: Forterra

As part of an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, Forterra at Cradley Heath provided over 500 uniquely shaped bricks to create more than 20 seats. The designer’s aim was to build a series of stools and benches out of bricks, but instead of using ordinary, rectangular blocks they wanted to use more unusual shapes.

Bruno Ceschel, Director of Self Publish, said, ‘The brick seats are visually very striking and we’re thrilled with the results.’

Project: Walthamstow Wetlands
Architect: Witherford Watson Mann
Brick Manufacturer: Ketley Brick

Built in 1894, the old Engine House has recently been opened up, extended and repaired. The existing brickwork of pressed reds and gaults was repointed, and blocked arcades were opened up. A small volume was added to the north side to house the café kitchen. The interior has been handled cautiously, stripping away paint to reveal walls in warm red brick, complemented by Ketley clay quarry tiles for much of the flooring. Both new masonry structures were built using Ketley’s Brown Brindle Class A facing bricks, chosen to both harmonise with the weathered purple-red tones, and contrast with the softer texture of the existing bricks. The new kitchen block echoes the original building, with nine inch brick walls laid in English bond, and load-bearing arches matching the adjacent north wall.

Essential to the transformation was the construction of a 24m high swift tower on the existing chimney plinth, reinterpreting the original brick chimney that was demolished in the 1960s. The swift tower tapers from 13 inches at the bottom to nine inches at the top and is constructed in Ketley Brown Brindle brick.

Project: Old Street Yard
Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Brick manufacturer: Wienerberger

At Old Street Yard the new SafeSecure reinforced brick cladding ensures that every piece of masonry is mechanically secured in place, to the sub-grid steel and through to the superstructure of the building.

The need for a mechanically secure fixing from the structure through to every brick component was deemed essential for the inverted slip cladding details at Old Street Yard/White Collar Factory development.

The strong steel sections engage with the brick slips in preformed slots. Each slot is profiled into the brick slips by circular diamond-tipped blades on a modified Wadkin spindle moulding machine. The slot is profiled with an undercut giving a consistent 10mm mortar joint that can be maintained regardless of over-sized or irregular shaped stock brick materials. Each masonry piece is additionally set into The British Board of Agrément Certified and approved epoxy resin adhesive. Each panel interlocks with its neighbour onto the protruding 10mm top hat flange of the preceding panel. The resulting composite structure is a robust elevation of solid brick cladding to be pointed to the full depth of the slip.