Bricks Decoded: High-rise Brick & Masonry Architecture | Yellowtrace

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

Aaaaaand… we’re back with our content partnership with our pals from Brickworks Building Products – an Australian company that designs, develops, manufactures and sells – umm, yes – bricks, but also a whole bunch of other fantastic building materials. Our partnership with Brickworks sees us exploring the versatility, immense magic and the infinite possibilities of bricks, as well as some other fantastic materials we shall be revealing down the track – so stay tuned.

In this series, we’re focusing on High-rise Brick & Masonry Architecture. Boom! Just in case you hadn’t noticed (but I seriously doubt it), contemporary mid and high rise towers are usually built using materials like concrete, steel, glass and large format claddings. At the same time, bricks are renowned for tactile, human scale qualities, and as such, are usually associated with smaller works of architecture, like houses. This is generally speaking, of course. Reasons for this are many – cost or ease of construction, but often the main reason is people’s perception.

Alas, I’m sure you’ll agree bricks are amongst the elite group of materials that are hard to beat when it comes to creating works of architecture that add a layer of visual richness and texture to our cities, which help engage even the non-architects among us. This is, after all, the job of any great work of architecture – to include, inspire and excite a much greater audience than just the design nerds who visit pages like Yellowtrace. In other words, you know – normal people. Hahaha! Ok, maybe that went a bit too far, but you catch my drift, no?

Anyway, enough frivolity, you guys. Let’s dive in!

 

Related:
Bricks Decoded: Curved Brick Buildings.
Bricks Decoded: The Return Of Glass Blocks.
Bricks Decoded: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Breeze Block.

 

Arc by Crown Group by Koichi Takada Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo © The Guthrie Project.

Arc by Crown Group by Koichi Takada Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo by Martin Siegner.

Arc by Crown Group by Koichi Takada Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo © The Guthrie Project.

Arc by Crown Group by Koichi Takada Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo by Martin Siegner. 

Arc by Crown Group by Koichi Takada Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo by Tom Ferguson.

 

Arc by Crown Group in Sydney, designed by Koichi Takada Architects // Working within a heritage precinct in the Sydney CBD, the Arc by Crown Group strikes a balance between seamlessly enhancing the existing streetscape, and providing a fresh and recognizable addition to Sydney’s skyline.

Inspired by the brickwork in the neighboring buildings and the masonry character of significant heritage buildings, Koichi Takada Architects introduced a duality to the façade via the varied aesthetics of the podium and the tower. Bowral Bricks, a division of Brickworks Building Products, worked with Koichi Takada to supply Hereford Bronze and Bowral Blue bricks for the project (see the full range here).

Further informed by the curvilinear nature of Australia, the distinctive arches vary in shape and width, adding a level of thoughtful detail that enriches the Arc building’s heritage appeal. Stepped brick framework enhances the perfectly symmetrical windows and balconies, making the structure appear elongated and elegant. The sculptural tip of the towers float above the podium, shaping the skyline with an organic and gentle form.

“It became a conscious decision to crown the building with an architectural feature that relates to how people perceive Sydney. We have taken a risk, and hope others will read this as a message to take one too,” says Koichi Takada.


 

Edges Apartments by Studio Toggle | Yellowtrace

Edges Apartments by Studio Toggle | Yellowtrace

Edges Apartments by Studio Toggle | Yellowtrace
Photography by Gijo Paul George.

 

Edges Apartments in Kuwait by Studio Toggle // Dynamic, articulated facades clad with locally sourced brick give the Edges Apartments in Salmiya, an expat neighborhood in Kuwait, a unique personality. If this brick building could talk, it would be sassy.

Based across Kuwait and Portugal, Studio Toggle gave the building a “rhythmic twist,” transporting the vertices on either side of the finite axis. Besides adding dramatic appeal to the aesthetic of the residential block, the twist was also influenced by practical considerations. The irregular form adds structural integrity to combat strong prevailing winds, and provides shade and privacy for residents.


 

38 Housing Units by Avenier Cornejo Architectes | Yellowtrace

38 Housing Units by Avenier Cornejo Architectes | Yellowtrace

38 Housing Units by Avenier Cornejo Architectes | Yellowtrace

38 Housing Units by Avenier Cornejo Architectes | Yellowtrace
Photography by Takuji Shimmura.

 

38 Housing Units in France by Avenier Cornejo Architects // The 38 social housing units are located Clichy, a town on the outskirts of Paris, an area experiencing significant urban development. Paris-based Avenier Cornejo Architectes looked to the concept of ‘eliminating borders’ in a metropolitan environment.

Taking cues from older, surrounding buildings of varied colour brick, the northwest and southwest facades are built using dark red Lucca bricks. An art deco diamond motif formed by overhanging and recessing brick headers adds an ornamental expression that subtly connects the building to the city of Paris. The motif is repeated on a larger scale through perforations on adjacent metal walls.

The project was the winner of the 2017 Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award.


 

DIY-housing Project Amstelloft in Amsterdam by WE architecten | Yellowtrace
Photography © Filip Dujardin.

 

DIY Housing project Amstelloft in Amsterdam by WE Archticten // Designed by WE Architecten, the collective DIY-housing project Amstelloft is a series of spacious, individually tailored loft apartments in Amsterdam. The project extensively involved all inhabitants of the building, with design inspired by dwellings within old schools, churches, and vast warehouses.

Enhancing this concept, a limited palette of robust materials was chosen to give the building a timeless façade. Bricks layered in varying dark shades clad the entire exterior, protruding to frame and enhance distinctive arched openings. The site offers incredible views of the Amstel river, with soaring 5.5m ceilings and tall windows giving ample opportunity to take in the sites.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

The Interlock by Bureau de Change Architects | Yellowtrace

The Interlock by Bureau de Change Architects | Yellowtrace

The Interlock by Bureau de Change Architects | Yellowtrace

The Interlock by Bureau de Change Architects | Yellowtrace

The Interlock by Bureau de Change Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography @ Gilbert McCarragher.

 

The Interlock in London by Bureau de Change Architects // Riding House Street in London’s Fitzrovia is home to a mismatched breadth of architectural styles, from 19th Century terraces to post war commercial blocks and contemporary concrete slab structures. The street’s piecemeal aesthetic is unified by the use of brickwork, which serves as the façade of choice, at times so abundant it forms parts of the road surface.

A five-storey mixed use building designed by Bureau de Change for developer HGG London, the Interlock interprets this history by taking the proportions of its neighboring 19th Century terrace and recasting its brick façade to create a building of uncertain heritage, subverting the traditional dimensions of London brick. A collection of 44 misshapen, seemingly unstackable bricks were developed out of Staffordshire Blue Clay, its unusual matte, inky-blue shade selected to contrast the areas existing brickwork. 5000 blocks were created, laid using 1:1 printed templates that set out the number, typology, and location of each brick, acting like a construction manuscript.

Co-founder and Director of Bureau de Change Billy Mavropolous says, “we adapted and reviewed the bricks in 3D. We were walking the line of what would be techni-cally possible, but through this process, found a point that was both buildable and produced the richness and movement we were trying to achieve.”

The bricks compose to form patterns that make the building appear at once historic and contemporary, familiar yet foreign. The bricks appear to morph and interact like cogs, and are inset frame-like to denote the building’s perimeter


 

10 Wylde Street in Potts Point by SJB | Yellowtrace

10 Wylde Street in Potts Point by SJB | Yellowtrace

10 Wylde Street in Potts Point by SJB | Yellowtrace
Architectural photography by Brett Boardman. Interior photography by Felix Forest.

 

10 Wylde Street in Potts Point by SJB Architects // Developed by Investec and designed by SJB, 10 Wylde Street is a grand residential address in Sydney’s Potts Point, containing 22 apartments over 7 levels. Drawing from the rich architectural heritage of the local vernacular, the building employs a contemporary interpretation of forms and materials that characterise the area and age gracefully.

A strong, formally articulated brickwork ‘glove’ facade gives depth and proportion to the east, south and west facades. The elongated, roman profile brickwork from Austral Masonry provides texture and rhythm to the masonry form, culminating in subtly curved columns and wide sweeping arcs that meet the street. The northern façade is held by the wrapping masonry ‘glove’, characterised by its transparency and fineness of detailing with thin steel and aluminium window frames, slender columns, slab edges and folded copper edge details.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

120 Allen Street in Manhattan by Grzywinski+Pons | Yellowtrace

120 Allen Street in Manhattan by Grzywinski+Pons | Yellowtrace

120 Allen Street in Manhattan by Grzywinski+Pons | Yellowtrace
Photography by Nicholas Worley.

 

120 Allen Street in Manhattan by Grzywinski+Pons // Dubbed ‘aparthotels’, 120 Allen Street is a multi-residential project on Manhattans’s Lower East Side that includes a mix of furnished studios, apartments, and commercial workspaces. The narrow site presented many challenges for the architects Grzywinski+Pons, who designed two structures to combat the slim proportions and maximise floor space and light, a slender ten-storey tower and an adjoining five-storey volume.

The facade is the stand-out. The first five floors of each volume are clad in handmade coal-fired brick, paying homage to the rustic masonry facades of the surrounding buildings in the neighbourhood. The bricks are laid in a gradient of warmer to cooler tones to balance the blend between the existing buildings and upper levels. To avoid looking like a ‘finger building’, the upper part of the taller volume, is clad in zinc panels and a veil of louvers, a textured solution that gives the building an interesting depth and works in harmony with the earthy cladding on the lower levels.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace

Australian Embassy in Thailand | Yellowtrace
Photography by John Gollings.

 

Australian Embassy in Thailand by BVN Architecture // Set in the central embassy quarter in central Bangkok, the Australian Embassy designed by BVN Architecture reflects a blend of modern Australian and Thai sensibilities in an emblematic symbol of diplomatic ties.

The 15,450sqm project comprises three buildings: the chancery, Head of Mission’s residence, and the entry and guardhouse pavilion. Three Australian-made bricks by Brickworks were chosen in contrasting colours reminiscent of the Australian landscape to signify the different functions of each building. Each façade showcases a curved organic form of reinforced concrete, with punched glazed windows and masonry cladding creating deep reveals for shading and privacy.

‘Embassy Red’ bricks form the Chancery building, presented within an analogy of ‘mini-Uluru’, set in a lagoon referencing the Thai canals. Lower scale, blue-black bricks clad the ambassadors residence and other surrounding service buildings, while dark, earth-toned bricks clad the guard house.

BVN’s choice of veneer brick over an in-situ concrete structure achieves the flowing, curvilinear form of the embassy. The way in which the brick enfolds to create deep window openings, deliberately leaving the surface free of any sharp edges, results in a homogenous, immaterial quality where the form dominates. The brick building resembles a geological form of mute red clay, signifying the pre-European, Indigenous and geological history that once saw Australia as a landform physically connected with Asia.


 

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace

Katamama Bali | Yellowtrace
Photography by Martin Westlake.

 

Katamama Hotel in Bali by Andra Martin // The 1.5 million Indonesian bricks that make up Katamama all seem to converge at the entrance. The arrival feels as though it was designed to literally pull people into what feels like a mini material vortex. But of course, these are no ordinary bricks. Each one was handmade by local craftsmen in the most perfect shades of terracotta, presenting as elegant shapes – long and thin – carefully dry stacked with no visible mortar anywhere to be seen on the colossal walls. Coupled with the sheer scale of the space in contrast to the fine grain of bricks and pavers, the effect is monumental and subtle in equal measure. More bricks await in the corridors, perforated to let in fine streams of sunlight. A true brick-utopia.

Read more about this article & see more images here.


 

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace

Qorveh House by ReNa Design | Yellowtrace
Photography by Reza Najafian, M.H. Hamzehlouei.

 

Qorveh House in Iran by ReNa Design // Located 90km from Kurdistan province in Iran, Qorveh House is designed as two separate units, a duplex residence and a multi-purpose independent living and working suite. ReNa Design opted for materials with a sense of permanency and authenticity, tempering the buildings contemporary, sculptural shape.

The geometric façade alternates wide horizontal sections of timber slats and warm terracotta brick. The stepped formations of brick appear almost rhythmic, fanning out perfectly as if they could be manually manipulated to expand and close.


 

Beyond the Screen by OBBA | Yellowtrace

Beyond the Screen by OBBA | Yellowtrace
Photography by Kyungsub Shin.

 

Beyond the Screen in Seoul by OBBA // Beyond the Screen is a residential and commercial building in Seoul, South Korea, with a café at ground level and 14 apartments on the four floors above. The chamfered blunt corner façade was determined by site regulations and setback lines, but also serves to maximise natural light, providing for extra windows and skylights.

A limited construction budget determined the use of economic materials, primarily mottled grey brick, which stands out among the neighbouring red brick structures. From an outward perspective, the building appears as a single mass, however in actuality a central stairwell bridges two separate volumes. A unique latticed brick screen conceals the stairwell across the east and west façade, creating privacy and facilitating cross-ventilation in the stairwell.


 

LSE Saw Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects | Yellowtrace

LSE Saw Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects | Yellowtrace

LSE Saw Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects | Yellowtrace

LSE Saw Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography by Alex Bland & Dennis Gilbert.

 

LSE Saw Hock Student Centre in London by O’Donnell + Tuomey // London and Ireland-based architects O’Donnell + Tuomey looked to the material most synonymous with London architecture when designing the LSE Saw Hock Student Centre.

“London is a city of bricks. The existing buildings on and adjacent to the site are built in bricks of varied and lively hue. Our design relates to the resilient characteristic of the city’s architecture with familiar materials made strange,” said O’Donnell + Tuomey.

The puzzle-like design assembles to form a coherent volume out of interdependent components. Tailored in response to specific site lines, the faceted, canted facades are composed of both solid and perforated brick. The brick surface is cut out along fold lines and replaced with large glazed screens, framing views both in and out from street to room. In front of these screens, openwork bricks seal the building and incorporate opening sections that naturally ventilate the building. The perforated planes are constructed from a single leaf of brickwork. Spaces in the flemish bond pattern allow maximum light to infiltrate during the day, and filtrate out at night to create a pattern, as if glowing from within.


Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron | Yellowtrace

Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron | Yellowtrace

Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron | Yellowtrace

Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron | Yellowtrace
Photography by Jim Stephenson.

 

Tate Modern Switch House in London by Herzog & de Meuron // Switch House, an addition to the Tate Modern completed in 2016 by Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron, is a little bigger than your average building extension. The 64.5m tall tower created 60% more exhibition space for the London contemporary gallery.

The exterior comprises leaning, folded surfaces, with entry access from three different sides. Clad with latticed brickwork, the facades match more seamlessly with the brickwork of Giles Gilbert Scott’s original power station. Large perforations and a series of slender windows slit across the brick surfaces allow light to filter in during the day, and cause the building to glow in the evening.


 

Lubango Centre by PROMONTORIO | Yellowtrace

Lubango Centre by PROMONTORIO | Yellowtrace

Lubango Centre by PROMONTORIO | Yellowtrace

Lubango Centre by PROMONTORIO | Yellowtrace

Lubango Centre by PROMONTORIO | Yellowtrace
Photography by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG.

 

Lubango Centre in Angola by Promontorio // The hinterland city of Lubango has been gradually, increasingly exposed to the development and urban reconstruction filtering through the country of Angola post-civil war. The small town is home to key architectural relics from Portuguese colonial urbanism in Africa.

For the Lubango Centre, a mixed-use building next to the main square, international architecture firm Promontorio chose brown brick facades to reinstate a non-dilapidated reference to the surrounding modernist structures. The brickwork, laid in soldier and stretcher courses, feature perforated sections that allow breeze to flow through and ventilate rooms. The deep earth tones recall those of traditional African rammed-earth and pottery, while the brick material ensures a long lasting, low maintenance building for the apartments, stores, and offices housed within.


 

Design Focus Office by MPART Architects | Yellowtrace

Design Focus Office by MPART Architects | Yellowtrace

Design Focus Office by MPART Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography by Noshe.

 

Designfocus Office in Seoul by Mpart Architects // Creative agency Designfocus pride themselves on being progressive, as the first professional brand consultancy in Korea founded in 1983. It was only fitting that their head office in Seoul made its mark, with local architects Mpart designing the 230 sqm, 8-storey space.

The ground floor reception is clad with glass and timber, above which the remaining structure is clad with matte grey brick. Creating an alluring sense of mystique and curiosity, the entire street-facing façade features no windows or openings, save for some staggered perforation down the right-hand side to facilitate ventilation. At rooftop level, large openings allow natural light to penetrate an outdoor seating and garden area, while offering views through to the city beyond.


 

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace

Five Story House by stpmj | Yellowtrace
Photography by Bae Jihun.

 

Five Storey House in Seoul by stpmj // It seems Korea is really coming through with the brick towers! Five Storey House by Seoul and New York-based practice stpmj is located amongst a densely populated residential neighborhood, combatting its compact 176 sqm size building upward by – you guessed it – five storeys. Vertical living prevails in Seoul, though it’s unusual for a single family to occupy their own individual block, and this one isn’t lacking in relative luxuries, with levels set aside for leisure including furniture making (the husband’s hobby) and a multi-play room for the young children.

The façade is clad entirely in red brick, with two sloping arcs distinguishing an otherwise conventional tall, skinny shape, one reaching from fourth to fifth floor, and the other at the parking-level cantilever. Arch-shaped brick screens echoe the street-facing arc windows.


 

Residential Tower in Tel Aviv by Penda | Yellowtrace

Residential Tower in Tel Aviv by Penda | Yellowtrace

Residential Tower in Tel Aviv by Penda | Yellowtrace

Residential Tower in Tel Aviv by Penda | Yellowtrace
Renders by Penda Austria.

 

Tel Aviv Arcades by Penda // Yet to be built, the Tel Aviv Arcades in Israel designed by Penda hint at the future potentials of brick buildings. So far beyond your average, humble brick block. The proposed 116m residential tower comprises white brick arches and cascading terraces influenced by the city’s Bauhaus era architecture and the materiality of its Old Town, dominated by stone paving.

Penda rejected the notion of an expected glass-heavy contemporary aesthetic, opting for curvaceous white brick facades in favor of a form and materiality that fits more directly with Tel Aviv’s sunny, Mediterranean climate. Encircling terraces act as a shading device against direct sunlight, and giving outdoor access to every room. The cascading arches have a historical ‘shelter’ association in architecture, a traditional welcoming gesture at the entrance to buildings and cities. Paired with layered terraces, the structure has a rhythmic, dramatic façade worthy of the dynamic and vivid energy of Tel Aviv.


 

Bricks Decoded: #YellowtracexBrickworks Content Partnership

 

This Yellowtrace Promotion is proudly created in partnership with Brickworks. All related thoughts and ideas reflect our genuine opinion. Like everything we do at Yellowtrace, our sponsored content is carefully curated to maintain utmost relevance to our readers.

 


 

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