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Brick Constructions: The Various Techniques and Approaches for Using Brick in Contemporary Architecture

In contemporary architecture, brick stands as an ageless, multifaceted, and continually progressive building material. Esteemed architects such as Louis Isadore Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright have utilized brick's remarkable attributes and its myriad applications in masonry to produce some of the modern age's impressive brick edifices.

So it is no wonder that present-day architectural practices continue to leverage brick's innate rawness and its color, texture, and form diversity.

Whether you are building a new home from the ground up or are simply extending your existing property, bricks will help you express new design ideas and add character to your house. And just like with our advice on blending plumbing pipes into your interior design, we think that this article will inspire you to consider how bricks can bring

In this article, we will be sharing ideas about colours and patterns in bricks that you can use in your future projects.

Brick Construction - exterior wall in grey brick

The history of the humble brick

Brick, with its history tracing back to approximately 7,000 BC, is an unendingly natural and earthen construction substance. Originally, mud bricks were sun-dried to create simple structures. It was only in 4,000 BC that fired bricks were introduced.

Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used bricks in the construction of temples and houses. In Medieval Europe, bricks were also used to build walls, castles and churches. In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrialization led to advancements in brick production techniques.

Today, bricks are produced in various sizes, shapes, and colors, and they are used in a wide range of architectural styles.

Why is building with bricks so popular?

The eco-friendliness, resilience, and qualities like permanence, robustness, elegance, steadiness, safety, and design wholeness make brick a preferred choice as a building material.

Brick-oriented architecture promotes a pleasing micro-environment and offers a comfortable refuge throughout various seasons. Contemporary architects have discovered endless ways to fashion bricks into functional and visually attractive designs.

The famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once stated, 'Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.'

Below is a compilation of diverse methods of employing brick in modern-day architectural designs.

Brick construction

Exposed Bricks

The distinct charm of exposed Ibstock bricks, ranging from rustic reddish-brown tones to vibrant shades of orange, envelops a space, giving it personality.

Iconic architects like Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Laurie Baker have used exposed bricks in several projects. Modern designers appreciate the allure of exposed brick constructions, which are increasingly overshadowed by traditional construction where brickwork is often concealed under plaster or paint.

The autumnal colors of exposed brick surfaces introduce contrasts and textures to modern designs. These provide a rugged, raw, natural finish, bestowing definite character upon a building.

Whether amplifying, balancing, or enhancing the design's features, exposed brick constructions reduce environmental impact and cost and bestow a natural finish.

Weathered Bricks

Often encountered in historic refurbishments, weathered brickwork is retained to infuse a sense of tradition into the structure.

This form of brick architecture holds a narrative, linking individuals to history and the present. It blends functional, modern design solutions while honoring its past.

Weathered bricks offer a dramatic appearance to the brick walls and as a backdrop for the building's modern finished or unfinished elements. By reflecting the building's simplicity in form and proportion and allowing the original character to shine through, this type of architecture is highly sought after for apartments, rustic-themed restaurants, or stores, particularly for exterior brick facades.

Coloured Bricks

Bricks come in various captivating colors, offering horizontal or vertical layout variations. These color options open endless possibilities for designers, granting them complete freedom to achieve a range of aesthetic effects.

From minimalist white bricks to rich, earthy tan shades, the hue can significantly shape a space's ambiance.


To summarize

Brick's multifaceted nature makes it a favored choice for modern architects, offering a rich palette of options that embrace everything from rustic charm to sleek modernity. Whether exposed, weathered, or colorfully enlivened, bricks make buildings not just structures but works of art.


Jenny Kakoudakis

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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