The Constantia Waldorf School’s dance and primary school hall, designed by Natural Architecture, displays Corobrik’s Cape Blend Travertine face brick in a seemingly flowing structure, used in a completely unique way to conventional practice and showing how the solid building block can be artfully constructed.
“It was important to me that the dynamic forms of the dance hall embody the same sense of movement as that of the dancers, like a flowing sculptural garment,” explains architect Keith Struthers from Natural Architecture.
“The undulating brick lines and meandering surfaces are ideal for expressing this sense of lively movement. The back wall, for example, changes from being a single curved surface into a doubly curved surface while the brick coursing gradually moves from horizontal to arching as the wall becomes more sculptural,” he points out.
The brick coursing consistently deviates from the horizontal, waving up and down and simultaneously off vertical in places to match the curving roof profiles and the helix beam carrying the floating roof. Here each brick course is in the pattern of a helix, allowing for the warping of surfaces in certain places, with single and double curves in other areas. The twisting wooden door is a warped surface built into this plane of undulating walls.
How was it done?
The intricate brickwork design was generated from numerous 3D computer drawings with each inch of the hall carefully calculated. On-site workers meticulously cut hundreds of bricks individually – positioning the brick in place, marking it, cutting it and then building it in. This required accurate cutting of every brick, with some being feathered into wedge shapes to work around horizontal plinths or columns.
“The clever use of Corobrik’s clay face brick in this really intricately designed school hall is a great visual representation of the brick’s versatile nature,” says Christie van Niekerk, Corobrik’s Western Cape manager.
“Aesthetically, it actually depicts the dance movement which the hall will be used for, but the choice of clay face brick goes even further than that. Acoustically, the noise insulation properties of clay will work with the building’s design to create a fantastic musical venue, while the insulated foundations and sub-walls with the thermal insulation properties of the bricks will keep these young performers warm in the Cape winters and cool during the summer months.”
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