Building with bricks
Bricks are back in both architecture and landscaping, and we’re on board. You only have to wander through some of the more established neighbourhoods in Sydney to see the way the beautiful brick buildings have not only survived, but have actually become more lovely, as the bricks gain a rich patina of age over the decades. As we become more environmentally aware, ever with an eye on longevity, a material that remains so robust over time is undeniably appealing. To add to this, manufacturers are working hard to create new colours and shapes of bricks that appeal to a modern sensibility.
Recycled bricks are in high demand and for good reason – standard red bricks straight from a factory are uniform in colour and fairly unappealing in most settings. However, give them few decades or a century to weather and wear, and they become rich in colour, with tones of red, purple, brown and grey. These look beautiful in a formal garden, pairing beautifully with a period home, or in an industrial setting where they evoke a vibe of urban grit.
Although recycled bricks can be purchased and brought in, the best situation is where you can salvage bricks from a demolished or partially demolished site and reuse them in the same setting. Here, they become both scenic and sentimental, a delightful acknowledgment of the history of a building.
Building a new look
New designs – shapes, sizes and colours – of brick are bringing this material into vogue in more modern settings as well. Darker bricks in shades of deep brown or grey look stunning in a moody, modern garden, creating a sophisticated vibe and allowing greenery to pop. At the other end of the spectrum, white, pale beige or grey bricks give a light, fresh, coastal feel to a landscape. The different styles now available also allow designers to create really interesting effects with long and slender linear shapes or unusual textures, from highly textured to ultra smooth.
Mix and match
There are certain go-to material combinations in which brick is the star. Think concrete, black steel and rustic red brick for an industrial home, or brick with aged timber for a more natural, organic look. But with so many different styles now available, brick can potentially sit in harmony with almost any material and in almost any setting. Plain or painted, as a star material or a supporting player, brick is well and truly on our design radar.