Archetech Issue 30 2017 - Page 43

on standard production, with one requiring the removal of a specific colour and the other needing a crisper edge than its standard. They were then fired the traditional way in one of the UK’s last coal-fired kilns in order to give a natural variation and richness of tone. The majority of the brickwork was in Newport Light (181,000 bricks in total), a hard pale semi-glazed machine-made brick, which was laid predominantly in a Flemish bond. Tom McGuire, Managing Director of Grangewood Brickwork Services said: “By laying the bricks in a Flemish bond pattern on a natural light lime mortar with no expansion joints, we were able to make the new façade seem as solid, thick and robust in appearance as the old buildings”. The lower courses were constructed with a total of 17,000 Newport Dark bricks, which were laid in a header bond on a dark mortar at the front of the building to reference the grey plinths of the original workshops. At the back of the building header bonds followed the external curvature of the spiral staircase. The precise quality of the finish and the intricate brick detailing was an immense work of craftsmanship from manufacture through to the specialist brick laying skill required, which was recognized by a BDA Craftsmanship Award. A total of 6,000 bespoke handmade and standard machine-made special shapes were created to match both blend types. These ranged from intricate cappings and copings on top of the saw-tooth gable ends, through to transition bricks and specials to the sills and heads of the windows. Dale Moss, Works Manager at Northcot Brick said: “A unique mould had to be made for each of the special shaped bricks. In many cases only one special was required, so these were fired as a one off with the mould never to be used again.” In addition to conventional masonry, header brick clad lintels embellished the windows, and a special lightweight FastClad brick slip system used the same bespoke blends to give continuity of detailing to the soffits in the main entrance. According to Peter St John: “Brick is a very versatile material and I think here we’ve demonstrated that we can turn something that was used for an industrial building into something that is really delicate and beautiful. Brick has that capacity because of its intricate surface, and because of the careful way in which it can be laid. I think it’s a very beautiful material.” An architectural masterpiece The five linked brick buildings, which are all different but obviously related, have created a sheer and impressive street elevation with a profound sense of historical context. What was once an unassuming street of industrial buildings is now an architectural masterpiece and a free public gallery which will benefit the community for many years to come. Peter St John said: “It’s rare for architects to be given the opportunity to realise a personal vision of the quality of the Newport Street Gallery, and for that vision to have a generous public dimension. We see the building as a palace for direct, intimate and luxurious encounters with contemporary art, and we are very pleased that this award will bring more people to see this extraordinary collection.” For more information, contact Northcot Brick Ltd., Station Road, Blockley, Nr. Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9LH. Tel: 01386 700551. Fax: 01386 700852. Email: sales@northcotbrick. co.uk, Web: www.northcotbrick.co.uk