Recycled bricks – case study

Early sketch made on site, train platform at top right and staircase running down from it over the footpath, bike shop on right and cafe on left.

I have been looking into the use of brick as a building material and will be using it as a primary material in my project. Almost all the buildings in the the Hackney Wick area are made of brick, so I see it as appropriate to apply it in my design. The material is also a way to emphasize the monolithic and substantial appearance of the buildings which is a key aspect of the proposal – openings and windows etc. can appear as if they were carved out of the volumes rather than being a part of a shell of a frame structure, which would not work well in this context.

In order to link my studio design work to the sustainability module, I will be using reclaimed bricks. Except from the obvious sustainable advantages this entails, it gives me possibilities to express aesthetic aspects of the design differently than new brick would – surfaces can appear rough, varied in texture, the colours will change making the building look more like a part of the landscape.


Above left: Wall made of recycled brick Right: Wall made using new brick.


Below is the C. K. Choi Building, University of British Columbia, Canada. The target was to construct this building so that 50% by weight of the construction would be reclaimed or recycled, and that the remaining 50% would be recyclable. Lots of the materials came from buildings being demolished, many of them on the university campus. The brick is reclaimed from different sources, and the strength and durability of samples of these were tested prior to application. Of course, the brickwork was only a small part of the different methods used to reach the target of 50/50 recycled/ recyclable, but it is nevertheless relevant in terms of use and appearance.


Link to a related article on architect magazine


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