Brick of the Future

Machiel Spaan, Baukje Trenning, Jochem Heijmans (2017)

Not clay as raw material, but toilet bowls, tiles and roof tiles. The people at Stonecycling make bricks from rubble, and not from clay as we are accustomed to in the Netherlands.

How can we further upscale this sustainability ambition? Traditional bricks are laid by means of cement/mortar. Moreover, the mortar has reached a level of such high quality that it glues the bricks together. Not demountable and therefore, very sustainable. It also seems to rob the brick of its rudimentary, aesthetic and tectonic qualities: stacking balance and stability. The objective is to discover and design new methods of stacking and connecting bricks. By eliminating the mortar, students are triggered to reconsider the elementary stacking techniques and the limitations that gravity imposes on the brick. The assignment focuses on the design and production of bricks that defy, stretch and deploy these limitations. Allowing bricks to function as sticky notes: deploying gravity or other means in order to accomplish a dry, or in any case, demountable stacking of bricks: Sticky Stones.

With the help of the facilities of Stonecycling and the St. Joris factory, the students translate their design research into physical prototypes. The experiments and results were exhibited at FabCity, a circular campus at the head of the Java Island, as part of the Netherlands’ presidency of the EU in 2016.

Brick of the Future
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