Top 3 projects that won the US Brick in Architecture awards

The Brick in Architecture awards acknowledge the best brick building projects across the USA. Here, are the top three that won awards.

The American Brick Industry Association’s (BIA) annual Brick in Architecture awards – which began in 1989 – are the country’s leading architectural design competition, honouring the “most visionary projects incorporating fired-clay brick”, according to BIA president Ray Leonhard.
In 2018, the panel of design peers chose 19 winners from 88 entries, across commercial, educational, residential and landscaping categories.
“Brick in Architecture Award winners demonstrate brick’s virtually limitless design flexibility and are increasingly part of any sustainable building program,” says Leonhard.
We selected our top three diverse projects that took home awards.


The Williams Bookstore, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

When Williams College decided to move its campus bookstore into the centre of bucolic Williamstown, seeing it as an opportunity to extend into the community, they called on architects CambridgeSeven to create a building that not only looked great, but had sustainability at its core. It had to meet zero-net energy goals and achieve Platinum designation in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. The exterior reflects much of the surrounding architecture, using a red brick by Endicott Clay, and wood siding in a muted mustard. Today, the building has become as much a community meeting place as it has a bookstore, as warm and welcoming as the red bricks it is built with.

Photograph: Williams Bookstore. Image courtesy CambridgeSeven.


Freedom Walkway, Rock Hill, South Carolina

This civil-rights themed walkway and public art project in Rock Hill, South Carolina, was conjointly designed by FMK Architects and landscape architects Groundworks Studio. It was designed to honour those who have fought long and hard for justice and equality. The walkway commemorates sit-ins held by students during the civil rights movement in the 1960s and was designed with a myriad of historical and natural references. These range from the obvious – the civil rights slogan ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ is painted on an old brick wall – to the symbolic: boulders represent the obstacles faced by the movement; okra mosaics are a nod to African-American culture. At its opening, Rock Hill mayor Doug Echols said, “It’s my honour to dedicate the Freedom Walkway as a reminder to every citizen of this community and our nation that we are all guaranteed the rights and freedoms of the foundations of the American constitutional system.”

Photograph: Freedom Walkway. Image courtesy Groundwork Studio.


5 Franklin Place, New York, New York

In New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood, a long linear block of land rezoned for high-rise construction presented challenges for architectural firm ODA. The resultant 20-storey 5 Franklin Place building utilises a cantilevered design to overcome the restrictive block, and features apartments ranging in size from one-bedroom lofts to five-bedroom duplexes. It is a distinctly modern form, but ODA incorporated traditional craftsmanship to ensure the building blended with the historic neighbourhood.
“Handmade basketweave brick features curved details and expresses a similar scale to that of its pre-war neighbours,” the architects write.
“It’s an ancient material that lends itself to timeless design, the brick used here resembles the depth and decorative character created by cast-iron facades and their articulated columns.”

Photograph: 5 Franklin, New York, New York. Image via ODA.

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