Precision bricks

You might suspect that a robot had been involved in the shaping of this impressive brick building. In fact, the precision with which 4000m2 of bricks were constructed is all done by hand.

An extended brick building with a wonderful name, the Lanxi Curtilage is part of the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Park in Chengdu, China. It was conceived and designed by Philip Yuan of Archi-Union architects in Shanghai.

To add some sparkle to the long volume, the architect took traditional Chinese motifs, such as the long low walls and convex curves, and re-imagined them in modern brick. It’s been constructed with some contemporary twists and turns.

The designer states that the design’s silhouette resembles rolling waves or undulating mountains. Whatever you think of that analogy, it is the rippled façade that really grabs your attention. The bricks are staggered to add the impression of movement and flow.

After the initial building design was complete, the joint pattern was created on a computer. Nine different brick types are used, and these are arranged in five joint sizes. This variation gives the blue-grey façades their dynamic appearance.

Each façade is built using the same locally sourced bricks, which enhances the over-all effect. Because the use of robot arms proved too expensive, the entire building was put together by hand with incredible precision.

The gaps between the bricks also allow light and air to pass through the walls. Digital methods combined with artisanal crafting ensure a fascinating spectacle of brick precision for this curious building in the heart of China.


More information via the designer.

Photos © SHEN Zhonghai