When I was a student, I really didn’t like brick buildings– because brick is rarely used as a load-bearing structural system nowadays and it’s basically really expensive wallpaper for the outside of buildings. Plus, the use of brick in the States is almost uniformly boring. I used to say snarky things like “Oh, how exciting… another monolithic running bond rainscreen interrupted only by efflorescence.” But lately my attitude about brick has started to warm . The first brick building that really surprised me was a small, scandanavian church designed by Sigurd Lewerentz. In the church, St. Peter’s, Lewerentz used brick, manipulating the masonry in ways I hadn’t seen or expected. So maybe it should be no surprise that this project, and its delightful tapestry of brick is also in Scandinavia.
These are images of the Saunalahden Koulu, a school in Espoo, Finland designed by Verstas Arkkitehdit. The recently-completed school serves nearly 800 kids within the metropolitan area of Helsinki. The brick front of the school is a kind of experiment in bricklaying (like the courtyard of Muuratsalo) and the result here is a mix of patterns that might excite a few other brick skeptics. I ran across these images on an online forum here.