“ARCHITECTURE STARTS WHEN YOU PUT TWO BRICKS TOGETHER. THERE IT BEGINS.”– LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE
Bricks have been our constant companion as a building material from antiquity. Initially, bricks were composed of sunbaked mud, followed by kiln burning. It increased their production and spread this material around the world. Thearchspace takes its readers through the advantages, disadvantages, and a few examples of brick facades.
Made from mud, which is again readily available, bricks had their dominance over other construction materials. This is why they have never been out of fashion and always came with various avatars throughout the centuries.
Brick Façades are the avant-garde of the era. In particular, architects are going for perforated brick walls or brick veneers as an innovative design element to enhance the building elevation.
What is a Brick Façade?
Brick Façade or Brick Veneer is the outer layer of brick fixed to the structural walls of the building. They are usually formed from thin brick slips, as little as 20mm in thickness. Brick veneer comes in various designs, textures, colors, and sizes which is why they go with almost every other material and site surroundings.
Advantages of Brick Facades:
Energy Efficient :
Brick veneer walls are more energy efficient as a separate insulation material can be added between the exterior finish and the main structure. It thereby regulates the temperature of the building interior, saving up energy costs.
Gives an Earthy Feel
Bricks are eco-friendly materials because their production doesn’t require any toxic materials. Therefore despite being in an urban area, they give an earthy feel, which makes them a unique and sophisticated architectural element.
Cost-Effective, Less time consuming& Easy to Install
Yes! You heard it right.
Almost anyone can afford and even install it. Unlike structural brick walls, they don’t require much-skilled labor and can be added at any point without taking much time.
In brick facades, either there are air cavities between the brick veneer & exterior wall, or they have room for any exterior insulation to eliminate moisture. Weep holes are added every couple of feet during the first course of brick, to drain the water.
- Brick veneers are attached to the structural backup walls and act as a cladding material without contributing to structural integrity.
- Brick slips are thinner than the structural brick wall making them more vulnerable to damage.
- Over a while, the veneer will require chipping out of old mortar and replacing it with new mortar.
Types of Brick Veneers
Two basic types of brick veneers are growing in the construction industry to a large extent. Both have their ease to install and can be molded into a broad spectrum of design forms.
1) Full Unit Veneer or Solid Brick
Also known as Brick Tile or Brick cladding, they are installed directly with mortar or other adhesives on the vertical structural wall, separated by plastic spacers. They can be laid in various patterns to create fascinating and subtle facades.
2) Cavity Veneer of Perforated Brick Façade
They get installed as free-standing panels (often prefabricated off-site) anchored back to the structural frame, which allows it to be vertically self-supporting. It creates an air space between the solid masonry wall and the perforation.
Shelf angles get fixed at the floor edges in multi-story buildings, which provides a horizontal expansion joint. Perforated brick screens give a portal for privacy by blocking one’s home from direct view yet providing a gateway for sunlight and an adequate amount of airflow on the other side.
According to designbuilding.co.uk, an internal research study by material specialists at ARUP found there is a risk to using adhesively bonded brick slip systems, especially in high-rise structures, and concludes by recommending the use of mechanically fixed systems.
We know your obsession with this material, so here are some examples of magnificent brick facades to date.
Examples of Brick Facades
1) Contemporary – A Subtle Sophistication
Designed by Ar. Ajay Sonar, this residence at Pune exhibits a realistic and sophisticated design. Recessed mortar joints between brick tiles put on little drama to the plain façade. Adding up wood, glass, and concrete further complements and completes the red brick façade.
2) Traditional – Never Getting Old
This traditional-style home by MS Design Studio has equal parts of rustic and regal charm. To avoid harsh sunlight and regulate the airflow as well, a brick screen is put in place to create an area of separation between the living spaces and the exterior façade. The material palette consists of Kota stone, terrazzo tiles, wood, and cane to give an earthy feel.
3) Industrial – A mix of Functionality and Design
Pabellón Agrícola Almazara Santurde (by Barcena and Zufiaur Arquitectos, Santurde, Spain) is a factory for manufacturing olives. Exhibiting a simple arrangement of brick, this single-volume windowless structure is split into two parts by a single void. When observed closely, it captivates the viewer with its unique texture.
The long and short of it, brick facades are an excellent solution as they are not only aesthetically pleasing but offer a large number of advantages over other cladding materials. Additionally, they could be shaped into incomputable designs achieving a wide range of decorative functions.
Ar. Mahima Singh
An Architect by profession and a human by intention, she is trying to make the world a better place. For her, writing is like meditation through which she can put her thoughts out to the world.