Regenerative Curiosity

12/10/2017 | Written by: Tom Farmer

Regenerative Curiosity

The shortlist for this year’s Brick Awards Urban Regeneration category comprises five projects. The extent to which this nature of development considers local neighbourhood as well as public and private interests, leads to particular challenges for the architects. These circumstances can also lead to some of the most interesting and curious design and material application.

‘We were struck by the quality of place making as much as the architecture itself. The shortlist includes projects that reveal the potential of brick today, from elegant but low cost housing to architecture rich in character and Victorian reinvention to the extraordinary potential of 3D modelling and fabrication.’ – Alex Ely, Mæ Architects and Brick Awards judge 2017.

Dujardin Mews is the first council-led social housing project in Enfield in 40 years. The development consists of 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom homes, designed by Karakusevic Carson Architects and Maccreanor Lavington. Built using Freshfield Lane bricks, the residences complement the surrounding brick housing and traditional London vernacular, and suggest they will maintain – during what one should expect to be a long ageing process – a certain dignity to the aesthetic. The blockwork and brick construction draws on a conventional stretcher bond and is punctuated by decorative brickwork detailing. Brick-length window reveals create depth and articulation to the façade, while a green glazed brick entrance door adds interest to the new streetscape.

Fitzroy Place is a mixed-use development on the site of the former Middlesex Hospital, comprising offices, homes, a health centre and school facilities. A sound response to what was clearly a complex brief, the buildings are contemporary; achieving the desired degree of modernity while retaining the character of Fitzrovia, through a palette of materials sensitive to the colours and textures of surrounding streets. One of the highlights of the development, designed by Architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, is the façade; distinctive brickwork bays, constructed using Michelmersh First Quality Multi Facings and Wienerberger Yellow Multi Stock Marziale bricks, help to modulate the length of the building along the street elevation.

Timekeepers Square, located in a conservation area in Salford, is a 36-unit development of townhouses, adjacent to a Grade II listed church and opposite a Georgian Square. A key design objective of architects Buttress, was to create a scheme that is sensitive to the area’s heritage, yet maintains a clear, contemporary identity. The rich grey colours and course texture of Wienerberger’s Forum Smoked Branco bricks are an effective choice, creating a bridge between the red brick of the Georgian houses and the sandstone of the church. The choice of mortar, close in colour and tone to the brick, reinforces the development’s limited material palette, creating homogeneity and contributing to the scheme’s unique sense of place.

The ambitious, multi-million-pound re-development of the Heygate Estate in Elephant & Castle, Mp1, South Gardens, is high density and provides a mix of tenures. Designed by Maccreanor Lavington, the regeneration places brick at the heart of the scheme’s contextual consideration, reflecting the material’s widespread use throughout the Victorian-built neighbourhood. The relationship with this context is strong, complemented through the use in particular of Ibstock’s White Engobe bricks, Wienerberger’s Terca Black Glazed and Freshfield Lane Lindfield, Darks and Firsts. Employed to soften the site’s appearance and help integrate the contemporary facade with the old, brick is tastefully banded and glazed brickworks at low levels give human scale to what is a very large building.

Designed by ACME, Victoria Gate Arcade in Leeds presents a landmark in both senses of the word. Demonstrating the increasingly meritorious relationship between modern technologies and established building material, the project uses a variety of bepoke Ketley bricks, specials and slips in a blend of light and dark red. Arranged in a complex geometry the design and build drew on 3D software to plot and place some 360,000 bricks. The result is an innovative masonry façade, which earns its city-centre prominence.

To see this year’s full shortlist click here.