Go­ing back to bricks and mor­tar

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

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

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