Going back to bricks and mortar
There is something inherently comforting about going back to our roots. In a departure from the shiny glass blocks and concrete-clad towers popular over the past few decades, a return to one of the world’s oldest building materials is taking place. Floor-to-ceiling windows and bright, quirky façades are all well and good, but could we be on the cusp of a brick renaissance?
The concept of developing buildings using brick as the main component is nothing new; this is the way much of the property across Britain has been built for years. But now, as the material is being incorporated into modern designs, new-build developments are giving an old-school construction method a fresh lease of life.
Brick is no longer reserved just for traditional terrace and detached housing, but is also being used to build high-rise schemes. Glazed brickwork is being incorporated into Rathbone Place, a luxury apartment block in Fitzrovia, London, and a new breed of townhouse in central Manchester. It also features in the development of Keybridge Lofts in Vauxhall – that is set to become the UK’s tallest residential brick tower.
Architects and developers alike are embracing the resurgence. “Brick architecture has always been here in the UK,” says Ken Shuttleworth, founder of architecture practice Make, and the designer behind the Rathbone Square scheme, which has been developed by Great Portland Estates.
“It hasn’t been as popular in recent years but, actually, we are using it a lot at the moment. At Rathbone Square we have brick outside and glazed brick inside. We have gone for this material because it fits in with the wider environment. There is lots of brick already in Fitzrovia so it works with the rest of the area.” The slick building is on the site of an old post office warehouse, and has already let office space to Facebook. A penthouse at the development, which also has a swimming pool and residents’ lounge, is for sale at £6.9million with Savills.
The same desire to fit in with the surrounding location goes for the 420ft-high Keybridge scheme, where developer Mount Anvil chose brick in homage to Vauxhall’s industrial past.
“As the tallest residential brick tower in the UK, Keybridge was inspired by the neighbouring Edwardian mansion blocks of Vauxhall,” says Jon Hall, sales director of Mount Anvil.
“We worked with architects Allies and Morrison to source the right type and colour of brick from across the spectrum of reds and oranges, and even went as far as Belgium to get the type of brick just right.” As well as