hen most people think of modern rainscreen cladding systems, they picture steel and

glass. However, architects are increasingly looking to alternative materials that have a traditional appearance but are compati- ble with modern methods of construction. Brick effect facades, for example, are extremely popular as they can be used to create a structure with a brick appearance but without the time, expense and labour of building in a traditional way. Dating back to 7000 BC, and originally made from dried mud blocks, bricks are one of the oldest known building materials. The clay bricks that we commonly use today were made popular by the Roman Legions, who operated mobile kilns and built large brick public and private structures throughout the Roman Empire. They built walls, forts, cultural centres, vaults, arches and faces of their aqueducts.

The Herculaneum gate of Pompeii and the baths of Caracalla in Rome are great examples of Roman brick structures that still stand to this day. During this period, the art of brickmaking was spread throughout Europe, where it is still one of the most common construction materials, particularly for housing.

MODERN MATERIALS, TRADITIONAL FACADES To this day, a brick facade remains a popular choice with designers. As such, the trend for brick slip panels continues to grow with architects that want an authentic aesthetic, alongside the benefits that are offered by rainscreen facades. These include increased insulation performance, reduction in wall thickness and, as brick slip systems tend to be very light when compared with traditional masonry, substantial weight savings. Lightweight brick slip panels give building designers greater freedom of expression because they avoid the need for heavy masonry-based internal support- ing structures. The result is not only a building with a reduced carbon footprint, but one that incorporates a modern aesthetic with a conventional style. The material’s visual appeal also creates an architectural fusion between other commonly-used facade materials, such as timber and terracotta tiles. Take Highwood Garden Terrace, for example – a 10 storey mansion style building containing 85 homes situated on the West Grove residential development on Elephant Park in London’s Elephant & Castle – the new £2.3bn multi-phase regeneration of the former Heygate Estate. The scheme is a major mixed-use development that will create almost 2,500 new homes and the largest new park in


Adrian Storey of Horbury Facades looks at how innovation in modern rainscreen cladding materials is resulting in a rise in brick facades.

central London for 70 years. West Grove, which is due for completion in 2019, is the second phase of the development and will contain 593 homes in total.

The Highwood Garden Terrace development features a brick slip corium facade in grey and red, in assorted textures. Glazed terracotta tiles in seven


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