Tag Archives: David Patterson

Bricks – not just for house builders

by David Patterson

Lightweight materials such as glass and steel are very much de rigeur (think of any of the recent BCO winner and they’ll most likely have predilection for one of the two), but the humble brick is having a quiet revival, particularly here at Make, as its sense of permanence, of durability, of tradition can not be beaten.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

The BRE’s latest Green Guide to Specification has assigned the highest possible accreditation, A+, to every external wall it rated that contained brickwork. Bricks thermal mass capabilities are superb. And in a 2007 investigation by RICS brickwork beat just about every other external skin option on price.[1] As the preserve of the volume house builder for decades that last fact may not come as a surprise, but at Make, we have been keen to understand how bricks can be used in a building where design and function do not have to be mutually exclusive. We’ve been researching this material, talking to colleagues and visiting manufacturers in order to develop our knowledge of brick and further understand its potential.

We’ve been exploring how brick can be used on the Amenities Building project for the University of Nottingham – a bar and dining hall on their agricultural campus that has to be robust and sustainable. We looked at how the appearance of brick can be used to create a warm and welcoming environment, both internally and externally.  In addition we considered how it can be used to form efficient service voids within the wall structure and by manipulating the bond in order to achieve calm acoustic environments. We spent time with our client visiting UK brick manufacturers and constructing sample walls on site to evaluate the materials in context.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

For Taberner House in Croydon, we’re working closely with Arup Materials and are considering innovative options for brickwork.  It is our aspiration to make the brickwork ‘earn its keep’ by contributing to the structural performance of the building rather than the conventional approach of brick as a cladding material.  This presents significant challenges as very few modern buildings have been built utilising a structural brickwork approach.

One thing I’ve noticed while working on these two projects is that the UK’s brick tradition is in danger of being lost as the large conglomerates buy up the smaller firms. There are some fine examples of design-led brick buildings in this country, now there needs to be a focus on the product and process to entice more architects to convert.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham













[1] http://www.brick.org.uk/about-the-brick-development-association/why-brick/

You can follow David on Twitter: @DavidGP72

Or find out more about each project on our website: The Amenities Building, Taberner House


Tagged , , , , , ,

The future of architecture – David Patterson

We asked ten architects – each of whom joined Make in a different year since 2004 – to write about how they see architecture and the built environment changing over the next ten years. Here is the second instalment.



David Patterson
Make Partner since 2005

By 2024 the population of London will have increased to an unprecedented level. While this is representative of London’s success globally, it also places significant pressure on the city’s already overstrained infrastructure – in particular our streets, which have lost their sense of purpose. Over the next ten years we will need to fundamentally rethink how our streets are used.

London is world-famous for its green parks and squares, which make a significant contribution to the unique qualities of the urban environment. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the city’s streets. Clogged with traffic, they are hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. This has not always been the case; in the recent past our streets had a real sense of purpose – they were destinations in themselves, places to go to rather than go through. They were elaborately balanced in order to meet a variety of different needs. Today they have lost that sense of purpose – the balance is firmly in favour of the car, above all else. Our streets provide a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life of the people who use them; they should be an integral part of our built environment rather than a separate entity.

We urgently need to rediscover our streets’ sense of purpose, in order for them to become destinations rather than routes to other destinations. I see our role as architects becoming more significant in creating streets which address this. If we are to successfully meet the needs of our increasing population, this transformation will become critical over the next decade.


Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: