chapter  Five
22 Pages

Brickalism

WithSimon Henley

This chapter explores brick Brutalism, or ‘Brickalism’,4 which is as potent a medium as its concrete counterpart. The mass of the sanctuary is expressed in the undulating brick wall that traces the roofline and silhouette of the light monitors. In each case, Kahn uses brickwork to create mass in order to symbolise the purpose and durability of the institution. The bricks are laid a maximum of five at a time stretcher bond, then five headers, and so on. Although the technique is repeated, the pattern varies from course to course. The architects explain, ‘The play of top-light and cross-light became a theme of the design – as an antidote to the flat bland lighting associated with rooms lit only from one end and differentiating between the two functions of a window: the admission of light and the provision of views out.