Pushing the [Brick] Envelope

Architects find new forms of expression with an ages-old material.
Architectural Record
By Katharine Logan

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss some of the qualities that give brick a strong environmental profile.
  2. Explain how thermal bridging can be avoided in brick veneer walls.
  3. List the different ASTM classes of brick and describe their properties.
  4. Describe several methods of achieving sculptural effects with brick veneer walls.



Learning and brick-building share a deep affinity: to build with brick is to join a conversation that’s almost as old as civilization itself. Academic structures are often brick, so it’s a common choice for new ones. Yet, despite all that’s been said in brick in the last 9,000 to 10,000 years (including brick’s own preference for an arch, as Louis Kahn famously told us), each new building has the potential to contribute something fresh, perhaps even astonishing.

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Saw Swee Hock Student Centre

Photo © Dennis Gilbert


Originally published in Architectural Record