Brick Awards 2015 winners announced

The Brick Development Association (BDA) has announced the winners of the 2015 Brick Awards, one of the top design and construction awards in the country.

The Brick Awards is the longest, most well established design awards in the UK. The 14 categories open to Architects, House Builders, Brick Contractors, Brick Manufacturers, Owners and Developers recognise excellence in brick innovation, sustainability and architecture.

Church Road Best Housing Development 1 – 5 Units – Church Road,Belfast

Architect: Hall McKnight

The Church Road development has been recognised by the Brick Awards as the best housing development of 1-5 units. An idealised vision designed by Hall McKnight architects, advantage was taken of nearby dramatic viewpoints, which include high-position views over the dramatic landscape, and the distant view of Belfast city centre, with hills and countryside on the other side of the building.

Envisaged as three distinct mono-roofed forms which relate in an interesting but informal relationship to each other, the building is accessed by a bridge which links to the middle floor of the building. The steep slope has been exploited by the architect to inspire the design of the house as strikingly handsome and dramatically modern, but the use of brick softens the sharp lines and gives the building a pleasing general atmosphere with the combination of sharp modernity and warm familiarity.

The connections between the three solids of the building are expressed by recesses in the brickwork. The bricklaying has been very well executed with special care taken with recess junctions and the brick soffits to recessed windows.

The panel were very impressed with this development, with one judge commenting, “The design and realisation of this house was impressive. The brickwork elements were well proportioned and integrated to dramatic effect”.

Brick: Wienerberger Mellowed Red Sovereign Stock

Darbishire Place 01       Darbishire Place 07       Darbishire Place 04


Best Housing Design Award – The Darbishire Building
Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects

The Darbishire Building, designed by Niall McLaughlin architects, has been awarded the Best Housing Design Award at the 2015 Brick Awards. The Whitechapel-based social housing block offers a reinterpretation of  classic masonry, built in place of an original Victorian Peabody building which was damaged during World War II. The block brings a modern, re-energised feeling to the area.

The block was built to fit effortlessly into the surrounding area, whilst maintaining a priority for creating an affordable environment. The building is simple and direct, without fuss, frivolity or fancy, yet there are moments of architectural delight which become apparent. For instance, the window surrounds subtly project and taper precast architectural stone trim, and bring sensitive articulation to what would otherwise be a less interesting building. Two zones of stacked corner balconies are designed with a bespoke precast tapering blade column, which accentuate the relationship of the building users to the public realm they face.

This is a fine example of a well-executed residential development, firmly rooted within the London Vernacular. It repairs a part of London’s streetscape damaged through World War II, and in that respect, follows a pre-determined role within a wider street grain of similarly-sized building blocks of similar rhythm, scale and articulation.

Brick: Wienerberger Marziale

Trafalgar Place 1     Trafalgar Place 2

Best Housing Design Award – Trafalgar Place
Architect:Rijke Marsh Morgan architects

The Elephant & Castle Development, Trafalgar Place by de Rijke Marsh Morgan architects has won an award for Best Housing Design at the 2015 Brick Awards.

DRMM’s project has been a big step in Elephant and Castle’s £1.5 billion redevelopment. DRMM aimed to veer away from the 1960s architecture that had come to dominate the neighbourhood, and focus on smaller, less alienating buildings, with a variety of storeys, designed to sit naturally within the surrounding area.

In brick terms, this is a masterpiece of urban design on an intimate scale, seamlessly and sensitively relating to the surroundings of the building. The changing colour of the brick arrangement brings the building right up to date, while retaining the pleasant and timeless feel that using brick always produces. An oasis amongst a chaotic urban context, this is a well-proportioned development featuring expert detailing.

One judge from the panel said of the project, “This scheme stands high above any residential development I have seen in recent years, with an extraordinary quality of detail. The project demonstrates the role that brick can play in making a place distinctive and out of the ordinary.”

Brick: Ibstock Brick;Staff Slate Blue Smooth, Laybrook Multi Orange: & Michelmersh Brick Holdings, Freshfield LaneDanehill Yellow, Selected Light, First Quality  Multi, synthesis Blend,

Laurieston Phase 1 Scotland

Best Urban Regeneration Project – Laurieston Phase 1
Architect: Page/Park and Elder and Cannon

The first phase of the Laurieston town redevelopment has won an award for its significance in urban regeneration. The £22m investment into 200 affordable homes was undertaken by two architectural practices: Page/Park and Elder and Cannon.

This was an immensely successful example of high quality social housing, recognised with a high energy efficiency rating in order to reduce utility bills for residents. Tied to its surroundings and adjoining stone raised railway track the dark blended brick reflects the history of its location. The building provides private external balconies protected by the deep revels giving both light and privacy. It has to be said the adjoining brick blocks are lower quality; this is a shining example on how to regenerate an area. Within the block the landscape central court provides a brilliantly designed alternative view.

Brick: Ibstock Brick: Nevado Geet

The building is bold with a strong parapet level providing a picture frame giving a real character to this building. The judge felt that this project had transformed the local area.

Volume Housebuilding Award – Taylor Wimpey

The Brick Award for Volume Housebuilding has been awarded to Taylor Wimpey for their work in London and surroundings. Their developments have displayed all-round high quality, especially the Quarters, City Mills and Praecedo.

The Quarters is typical Estate designed around Essex Design Guide principles, providing a range of public and private spaces including secure and protected areas for the Community to use.

The quality of the scheme at City Mills is a relatively dense development and attempts have been made to break down mass and scale.

For Praecedo a range of Architectural styles has been used to reflect the traditional military buildings and those of historic Colchester.

Best Commercial Building – The Haven Hostel
Architect: Gottstein Architects

year’s Brick Awards. This development was designed by Gottstein Architects. The hostel sits adjacent to the client’s pre-existing hostel facility and replaces a previous build which was derelict.

The architect exceeded their brief of providing quality accommodation for travellers, and it has been transformed into a truly disciplined building which works at all levels. The building is clearly defined by its structure and expresses it through simple yet strong shapes. The use of red brick makes for a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and through clarity of design, this makes a perfect backdrop for the social and communal aspects the hostel wishes to embody. A solid defensive wall dissolves on approach to display an open structure.

The medieval street pattern is complex, yet the Hostel finds an architecturally appropriate language using a clean modernism to impose order and structure. Although modest in scale, the building carries a timeless monumental quality with the load-bearing brickwork providing a series of fascinating spaces. The project creates a unity of outdoor and internal space, which reflects the hostel’s outdoor philosophy for hikers in Ireland’s National Park.

Brick: Ibstock brick: Birtley Olde English and Birtley Olde Linear


Best Public & Education Building and Best Refurbishment Project – The Whitworth Gallery
Architect: MUMA architects

The Whitworth Gallery has been awarded for its excellence in brick use in the category of Public & Educational buildings. The building belongs to the University of Manchester, and houses is an cultural centre of the city. The museum was originally built in 1889 and reopened its doors earlier this year after extensive refurbishment and extension.

The gallery is sited in a public park, and consequently occupies the middle ground of both academic and public domains. The public space demonstrates a masterful grasp of proportions, design and scale by the MUMA architects. The private garden adjoining a busy street is an oasis of calm and contemplation. The building is unashamedly modern but because of the use of brick and scale, it fits into the Manchester architectural environment seamlessly.

The brickwork quality is exceptionally high. The texture and colour of the bricks harmonise perfectly with the essence of the Whitworth.

Brick: Northcot Brick, Whitworth blend and matching Handmade

House of Trace EXTERNAL AFTER      House of Trace INTERNAL AFTER

Best Refurbishment Project – The House of Trace and Richmond Adult Community College
Architect: Tsuruta Architects

The House of Trace refurbished by Tsuruta Architects, is a private home in London, and  has won jointly alongside the Richmond Adult Community College which was also a stellar refurbishment achievement.

The House of Trace was developed keeping a memory of the original building, but simultaneously allowing for the new build to form its own identity. Older facets of the house have been preserved or recreated in the architecture The Brick Awards panel considered this as an interestingly sensitive approach to the refurbishment of an end of terrace house, reinventing the type through approach to the new and retained material, both on a diagrammatic and a detail level. Instead of treating the existing building as a blank canvas, the architects viewed the project as a picture to be expertly restored and this is what elevated them to the winning position.

Brick: Wienerberger Sheerwater Silver Yellow Stock

The joint winner was the extensive restoration of Richmond Adult Community College by Duggan and Morris architects a considered and deeply thoughtful and economically resourceful piece of work. This was a complex and constrained site, carefully and creatively integrated into its surroundings. The refurbishment serves to enrich the existing campus and points to future development in its design.

The judge of this category stated, “It was an absolute success in fulfilling the client and users’ needs with lovely quality of brickwork; old and new, meshed successfully together. The existing brick was celebrated and exposed in interiors.” This project was a wonderful adaptation and refurbishment and praise should go to all involved.

Brick: Michelmersh Brick holdings; Freshfield Lane First Quality


Best Outdoor Space – The Belvedere: Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden

This year’s winner of the Best Outdoor Space Brick Award is the Belvedere Garden, East Ayrshire. The project could be considered a winner not just in the outdoor spaces category, but over several other categories too. It is a stunning and magnificent achievement of outdoor brickwork. The five-acre walled garden was derelict and within the period of a year, the garden has been transformed into one of the most interesting walled gardens in the UK.

The external garden wall, featuring sloping brickwork, has been repaired to an exceptionally high standard and the Belvedere sits, crowning the garden majestically. The centrepiece of the new garden is the brickwork walls and staircases linked to the greenhouses, giving a heart to the new garden. Functionally, the garden redesign has been a huge boost to the local economy, creating local employment to around 80 talented workers and providing annually access and teaching for 5,000 primary pupils in the adjoining kitchen garden. The fantastic brickwork is complimented by the magnificent display of plants and flowers, which were grown on the project.

Brick: York Handmade Brick; Dumfries Blend Handmade


Innovative Use of Brick and Clay Products – City Park West

This urban development in Essex is a fantastic example of clay brick being used in an innovative manner; the individual buildings in the development are fascinatingly eye-catching in their shape and design. The use of clay in this development is holistic as it utilises brick for landscaping and a façade material simultaneously. The scheme is truly innovative in that it takes a blended modern product in the Corium slip system, using the brick in a vertical manner as a contrast with the traditional load-bearing bricks which surround it. This is a risky choice, but it has paid off.

The twin blocks float on a glass podium, reducing weight whilst the linear bricks give a verticality and interest that could not be achieved using traditional brickwork. For these reasons, the building project was considered excellent by the judge in using these original and cutting-edge techniques.

System: Wienerberger Corium

Turnmill 2      Turnmill 1

Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year  – Swift Brickwork Contractors 

This year, Swift Brickwork has been honoured for its excellent work across the brick industry. This award was judged on the entire company activities including Health and Safety, craftsmanship and, most importantly, training for the next generation. The judges considered several of the firm’s projects over the year.

The Turnmill project in Clerkenwell was one which the judges noted as particularly impressive, as the quality of the brickwork and detailing is exceptionally high. The selection of the brick makes for a building of real quality, while the craftsmanship gives the appearance of real quality: supremely confident and simple in its execution.

The exciting Urbanest development at Kings Cross St Pancras station is of a high quality, with a finely selected grey/buff brick, interspersed with grey spandrel panels and shutters.

In addition, the work done for Imperial College, consisting of three large blocks of student accommodation with strong identity through simple detailing, was considered exceptional by the judges.


Craftsmanship Award – Eton College’s Jafar Gallery & Jafar Hall

This year, the Jafar Gallery and Hall, a new development as part of Eton College, has been awarded the Craftsmanship Award. This building was considered, amongst others, by a subcommittee of judges who are especially qualified in understanding detailed and exceptional craftsmanship. The award is for the whole team and John Simpson Architects who worked on the project, but presented specifically to the leading craftsman. Lee Marley Brickwork are responsible for the spectacular brickwork on this building, which reflects its function of housing, the Egyptian exhibition it contains and an Oratory forum.

The craftsmanship on this project is hugely demanding, comparable with that which has been achieved in previous generations. The external leaf was constructed of bricks with lime mortar, tied to the concrete frame through custom-made ties which allowed the brickwork to flex independently of the central frame. The building blends fantastically into the surrounding historical environment, with the high quality labour involved in the conservation grade brickwork clearly visible from first sight.

This is a unique building responding to a unique programme, and while the design itself is outstanding it is complimented by degree of craftsmanship which the team has every reason to be extremely proud of.

Brick W H Collier: Richmond gold

WEB Eight Artillery Row 02      WEB Eight Artillery Row 07

BDA Chairman’s Award – Eight Artillery Row

The development of Eight Artillery Row was a major refurbishment of a 1960s office block, in order to create 22 luxury apartments, all of which were sold prior to the completion of the building phase.

The impressive red-brick structure takes architectural inspiration from nearby Westminster Cathedral, emulating the rich heritage of the locality in a modern timeless design.

With inaccuracies in the basic frame of the building, the brickwork had to be meticulous, and the new brick façade makes a really positive contribution to the street scene. The careful attention to detail has produced a sustainable building, and with many varieties of brick incorporated in complex elevations, it provides an incredibly successful response to a demanding brief. This building exemplifies the kind of refurbishment project that is required if we are to regenerate our inner cities areas in a sustainable way, and create the kind of environment which people value and desire to live in.

Brick: Michelmersh Brick Holdings: Charnwood Special Blend

Turnmill 2      Turnmill 1

Best International & Worldwide Project – Office development Turnmill, Clerkenwell
Architect: Piercy & Company

Located in the heart of Clerkenwell, East London, Turnmill is a seven storey structure comprising offices, and benefits from extensive window frontage.

The building relationship to its surroundings is very strong. It sits amongst a context of ornate brick warehouses and directly opposite the old Sessions House. The choice of brick colour echoes the hues of the stone of the old Sessions House. The quality of the brickwork detailing is exceptionally high, this coupled with the selection of the thin linear brick and the slender column design gives a modernistic framework using a traditional material in a uniquely innovative and attractive manner. This building is a testament to the successful and fruitful relationship between designer and developer. The subtlety of the building and its deceptive simplicity and avoidance of visible movement joints show the depth of thought in the design of this building.

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