2014 Brick in Architecture Awards

From the Brick Industry Association:

“The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has honored the best in brick design across North America. Selected by an independent panel of judges, the 2014 Brick in Architecture Awards spiked this year with more than 150 entries. Established in 1989, the 40 winners in this 25th anniversary year span 22 states and Canada.

“Fired clay brick offers the aesthetic flexibility to match the architect’s imagination and desires, along with sustainable design, unsurpassed durability and many benefits from its physical properties,” said Ray Leonhard, BIA’s president and CEO.

Honors were awarded in four categories: Best in Class, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

We are pleased to announce that the Life Science Laboratories building on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus was awarded ‘Silver’ in the Educational (Higher Education) category.”

The flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system has featured clay red brick masonry on its buildings for the warmth of color, the sculptural opportunities, the economy, and the durability that only masonry offers. The original four campus buildings remain treasured icons whose brick facades look as if they were only completed yesterday. Masonry has been used extensively over the history of the campus that for years a local brick yard manufactured and marketed a special brick named after the university.

For the design of the Life Science Laboratories building, the team felt that the use of masonry would allow the tradition to continue while at the same time explore new directions for the future.

Situated on a high plateau looking westward over the Pioneer Valley, the site presented many challenges. The use of masonry allowed the design team to create a gently curving plan that conforms to the undulating terrain. The sculptural capacity of masonry enabled the team to create a series of cascading terraces that serve as outdoor gathering spaces and facilitate access to various building entry points.

The building’s massing features two opposing curved lab wings framed with four vertical exhaust towers. Offices on the east side of the plan feature punched window openings in a random pattern within a gently curved masonry facade. Laboratories on the west side of the plan enjoy large window openings that float above a stepped plinth of brick and stone masonry. Vertical brick towers are crowned with grids of projecting bricks that cast dynamic shadows over the course of the day.

While the design offers a contemporary expression, a traditional bonding pattern known as modified English Cross Bond was used to further animate the facades. The pattern creates diagonal lines that appear to move as one looks at the building from different angles.

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