Brick Awards: wow-factor London homes in line for prestigious prize

London, built on clay, is set to scoop awards for its innovative use of modern bricks.

What could be a more appropriate building material than brick for a city built on clay? Brick formed the building blocks of London for centuries, until the arrival of steel and big glass made it look dull by comparison.
Yet today, brick is back in favour, seen as an antidote to ubiquitous glass towers, with London architects embracing the material with enthusiasm. The best of their recent work features in the 39th annual Brick Awards, with winners announced tonight.
London features strongly in the housing development category, where four very different schemes are shortlisted.



Trafalgar Place in Elephant & Castle, by de Rijke Marsh Morgan, is set on a big triangular plot with lots of green space. It has 235 new homes, each with a balcony, garden or terrace, in blocks of up to 10 storeys. The mix of brick, from Ibstock and Michelmersh, creates clever patterns across the façades.
Chester Balmore in Camden, by Rick Mather Architects, is a beautiful development of 53 council homes in a soft, elegant, dove-grey Marziale brick by Wienerberger — the biggest brick company in the world. Mather has made the blocks look really harmonious with neighbouring terraces.
In Whitechapel, Niall McLaughlin has filled an empty Peabody housing site with Darbishire Place, where each flat has a deep balcony. Also made from lovely Marziale brick, it has created homes for 13 families.
In Tulse Hill, Groves Natcheva has created Warren House — a striking industrial-looking set of nine private apartments next to the station.
The crisply retro building is clad in distinctive glazed black-and-white Ibstock brick, which has helped to make it a local landmark.
A new-build one-off 
Just one London project has been shortlisted in the one-off homes category. Big, bold and boxy 3a Spencer Park in SW18, by MG Architects, uses lots of glass as well as brick to create a defiantly modern, light-filled house. Like so many new projects, it makes use of the pale bricks that are currently so popular, this time a version called Terca by Wienerberger.

Fabulous brick refurbs
The refurbishment category has three terrific London homes shortlisted.
Clonbrock Road, Hackney, adds an extension to a 1957 house so cleverly it seems to create a whole new building. Done by Lipton Plant on a tight budget, it uses a distinctive silver-white Ibstock brick to good effect.
House of Trace, by Tsuruta, in SE23 took an old brick extension and made a new extension that incorporates the shape of the old one, like a shadow. Inside, the fresh new yellow Sheerwater bricks are left exposed — even in the bedroom — which works very well.
Brooksby in N1, by Llowarch Llowarch, makes the best of a boxy back extension by using white glazed bricks by Wienerberger, along with plenty of glass. The project showcases the value of using unusual bricks.

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