Architect and Builder November 2021 - Page 8

The Revival of Face Brick

By Nick Booth CEO , Corobrik

We are clearly seeing an uptick in the use of face brick , which has been rediscovered by the construction industry and architectural profession as a creative , sustainable , long-lasting and durable material that can actually make buildings look sexy . For example , at The Onyx in Jewel City in Johannesburg , we assisted the architect by cutting our Nala and Protea Travertine bricks off-site at our factory to create a bespoke ‘ split-brick ’ façade . It is applications such as this that really showcase the versatility of face brick as a building material , particularly in terms of creating new façade finishes and appearances .

Akanyang , 255 Architects , Platinum Satin & Agate Satin face brick
We are seeing this trend not only in South Africa , but in high-profile global cities like Chicago , New York and London , where older building materials are being rediscovered in the wake of the extensive use of steel and glass . A key driver of this trend is that modern buildings may glisten and gleam impressively , but keeping them warm and cool as needed is a major cost factor , which is why a sustainable and energy-efficient building material like face brick is finding favour again .
You just have to look at Italy where clay-fired brick and mortar structures have stood the test of time since the Roman empire . What is fascinating about face brick is that it is equally at home on affordable housing or at the other end of the spectrum on iconic flagship projects . There is no doubt that fashion changes and building materials come and go , but you just have to look at Victorian London to realise how much of it was built from brick . And that is now being revived again in upmarket housing developments in areas like Regent ’ s Canal .
What is so exciting about face brick as a building material is that you can add texture and depth to a structure by making use of hollowed spaces or stepping brickwork in or out , which also creates an interesting play on light and shadow . These are all additional benefits inherent in face brick that architects and other built environment professionals are rediscovering for themselves .
As with our involvement at The Onyx , we are more than happy and willing to work with architects to realise their visions . We are there to provide the practical and technical assistance to transform their creativity into reality . We are there to ensure that we consistently supply bricks of the correct shape , size and colour , and to give professional advice where needed . It is the kind of supporting role that we have always prided ourselves on , and which we will continue to offer going forward .
Key to this , is increasing the quantity of archive material we put out on our website and other social media platforms in order to raise the profile of face brick as a building material . We have to keep on building on this as it inspires others to go above and
8 Revival of Face Brick