Dating buildings brickwork

That harks back to the 18th century brick tax, which made it more economical to use very large bricks rather than smaller bricks.

You can often see joints in walls where bricks of different size meet. An extreme response to the brick tax came from Joseph Wilkes, who doubled the thickness of bricks made at his works at Measham.

It's a bit like learning to recognise different types of tree or different bird.

FIrst you just learn to give them names, then you learn more about them, and why they are as they are.

This comprehensive two-volume set tours the world to cover the most exciting and innovative brick buildings of the past 15 years, from Argentina to New Zealand.

True to all TASCHEN architecture tomes, it includes new talents like Argentina’s Diego Arraigada and Vietnam’s Nguyen Hai Long as well as established starchitects such as Tadao Ando and Peter Zumthor.

But brickwork evolved to meet the needs of society, and over the centuries it has continually responded to changing needs, technology and fashions.

In town centres especially, look up above the shop fronts where you can see the original fabric of the buildings, before they were mauled by the makers of gaudy modern shop fronts.Brickwork as we know it was imported from the low countries in the middle ages. It is written in the buildings that you can see any day, and if you can understand the language in which it is written, you can read the buildings history.Walk around almost any town and look at the brickwork you pass.Of all building materials in the world, brick is one of the most enduring and ubiquitous.Traces of brickmaking date back to 7500 BC and fired brick first made its appearance in about 3500 BC.It forms the visible pattern that you see on the wall. The ability to spot different bonds while walking around a town, and the realisation that they could tell me something about the history of the building, was what first got me interested in brickwork. But this idea was debunked by the research of Norman Nail , presented in 1981. So bricks in one part of the country would have a very different colour and texture from those in another, giving buildings a distinctive regional look and feel. Buildings make a public statement that can reflect the owner's perceived status. Brick tiles' had been introduced much earlier as a way to clad timber buildings and give them the appearance of brick, and they were also taxed during most of the period when bricks were. That changed when cheap transport began to favour mass production in areas where the bricks could be made more cheaply, and transported more or less anywhere. Over the years fashions change but the desire to be in fashion, and the desire for quality by those who could afford it, persisted. Sadly, as with so much else, modern buildings are becoming homgenised, with the same bricks and the same styles being used in towns all over the country, but even so, after several decades of uninspired building, brickwork is once again being used imaginatively to help to enrich our townscapes. Its size is mainly determined by what a brickie can pick up in one hand, and keep on doing so for several hours.Over the centuries, the size of bricks has changed quite a lot, and until a few decades ago, bricks in different parts of the country tended to be of different sizes and proportions.

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