by Eric Mootz on April 8, 2016
Embracing Modern Design with Brick
The same basic picture jumps into everyone’s mind when they think of brick buildings. After all, the material is everywhere around us. But the traditional image of brick is being replaced by modern applications and contemporary designs.
The creative potential for today’s brick installations is limited only by imagination. Manufacturers are constantly producing a myriad of new colors, sizes, and shapes that are inspiring today’s designers and builders to rethink the possibilities of brick.
Here are some of the innovative ways designers and builders are proving that brick should no longer be considered just a commodity, but a major design element.
Brick colors go far beyond the traditional reddish hues. Manufacturers can even create custom brick colors to match their customers’ specific needs.
“Today’s brick palette includes modern hues: oatmeal, silverstone, graystone, chestnut, cascade white, baystone, tan velour, and more,” says architecture industry expert Ron Treister in a Masonry Construction article. “Other brick color options range from traditional reds and earthtones to pastel pinks, misty grays, browns, and deep burgundies. We now produce bricks using white clay, which gives a crisper, cleaner color tone to gray and pastel bricks.”
In addition to the myriad of available colors, different brick colors can also be blended to achieve the desired look. Although this isn’t seen frequently, it is a viable option for creating a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
The wide variety of brick colors available today can be used to create an endless variety of looks. For example, one growing trend is the use of white, gray or pastel brick with matching mortar color to achieve a Mediterranean or contemporary look.
As evidenced by the Building Industry Association’s annual Brick in Architecture Awards, unique brick patterns using different depths and orientations are one of the latest design trends. One recent award winner used brick to create an abstract representation of wheat fields blowing in the wind. Creative patterns and impressions can be used to add scale and interest to any structure.
According to the Brick Industry Association (BIA), over the past two or three years, brick manufacturers have added, and continue to add, new and more textures to their product lines in response to — or in many cases, anticipating — customer demand. One increasingly popular brick design is the tumbled or “used brick” effect.
Stunning effects can be achieved by selecting new and exciting shapes on corners, coves, lintels, arches, sills and soffits. Standard brick is now being complemented will bullnose corners and flatter external corners.
Today’s thin brick veneers provide both beauty and value for either new construction or renovation projects. The look is the same as natural brick, but due to the reduced weight, builders no longer have concerns with load-bearing or having to reinforce subfloors.
In a study by MasonryWorx, 90% of consumers said they would prefer homes made of masonry products over other exterior finishes. Here’s how brick is helping designers and builders achieve the contemporary look consumers want:
- Smooth-faced brick
- Bold monochrome brick and mortar colors
- Linear masonry shapes
- Mixed masonry products to create varied elevations
- Stone, brick and panel accents