Back to the 2024 Winners (to be used in September 2024) Innovation

Brick tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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A brick tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth


Location: The Brickworks Museum, Swanwick, Southampton

Brick Manufacturer: Ketley Brick Company Limited

Brick Name: Staffordshire Red "Brixel" Brick Slips & Staffordshire Red Plain Brick Slips

Architect: Richard Dyer, Ketley Brick

Contractor: Ketley Brick Company Limited

About the project

Judges Comment:
“It’s a wonderful and innovative use of bricks that highlights how clay bricks can add dimension to any façade. The bricks were crisp, clean, and solid with little or no blemish, enabling the light to run over the relief giving the appearance of a slowly moving face. A truly fitting piece of work blending tradition with innovation which was something the late Queen excelled at during her very long reign.”

Constructed to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, this unique representation of HM Queen Elizabeth II made entirely in brick relief is an innovative and lasting tribute. It demonstrates a new way of creating complex patterns, designs, images or logos in brickwork relief without the need for costly bespoke bricks and it is currently on display at The Brickworks Museum in Southampton.

The 3.5 x 3.5 metre royal silhouette is the first textured brickwork design of its kind and scale to be developed using pioneering ‘Brixel’ technology. The result is a unique work of detail and complexity, made up of 676 Ketley Staffordshire red machine- extruded engineering bricks, including 5 distinct pyramidal-shaped brixel elements.
The modern sharp-edged aesthetic and traditionally fired natural tones of Ketley’s Class A engineering bricks add warmth and precision to this intricate façade of subtly changing light and shadows, whilst ensuring the structure’s longevity.

To create such a detailed representation, Ketley Brick took a classic 2D photo of Queen Elizabeth II and divided the image into 2,028 65mm square pixels. The pixelated image was then rendered into brixels with each brixel made up of three 65mm pixels, and each pixel separated by an equivalent 10mm mortar joint. Each pixel was either a light or dark unit within the design and was represented accordingly by either a protruding pyramidal brick element or a flat brick element. There were 5 different types of brixel bricks each with either one, two or three pyramidal protrusions in combination with two, one or no flat sections. The 3D brixel visualisation tool produced a 3D representation of the brick sculpture with the bricks laid in 3rd bond and determined where each type of the five brixel types needed to be placed and how many of each type were required. It showed how the design would look at the chosen resolution and how it played with light from different directions.

The finished bricks were initially laid out on the ground as a ‘mock up’ before assembly on panels ready for easy installation at the Brickworks Museum.

The textured silhouette of HM Queen Elizabeth II is not only a unique and striking example of brickwork as art, but it is a ‘game changer’ in the creation of lenticular designs in brick relief.

The sculpture promotes brick work in a new way, demonstrating the extraordinary detail that can be achieved using machine- extruded “brixel” bricks. It opens up new commercial possibilities for architects, which could revolutionise how decorative brick relief patterns and facades are designed in the future.

Rob Flello, CEO, British Ceramics Federation comments:- “The UK ceramics industry is constantly evolving and embracing new products, technologies, and opportunities. Ketley’s new ‘Brixel Bricks’ represent a new and exciting landmark innovation with the potential to further advance the industry by enabling ever more creative and ambitious textured brickwork facades. The Queen's memorial sculpture demonstrates the impressive level of complexity and precise detailing that can now be achieved”.

Sponsored by Wienerberger Limited

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At Wienerberger Limited we’re building beyond what we know to be possible today, and rethinking how we create value for our customers and partners, our people and our communities. Our sustainability strategy ‘Let’s Build Beyond’ looks ahead to 2030 and we have already set workstreams in motion to help us to reach our goals.

Wienerberger Limited