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    • 25 October 2016

      Old Bricks Brought Back to Life

      Denmark’s School Building of the Year 2016 is made of reused brick. The material selection influences the school’s appearance and identity, and has impact on the building’s CO2 footprint.

    • The past and the present unite in the new-built Frederiksbjerg School in Aarhus, Denmark. The facades are made from reused brick of which a large part stem from historical buildings of the neighborhood.

      Some of the oldest bricks used to form the regional hospital of Aarhus, which was built in the 1880s. Others stem from the former Sct. Annagade School, which was built in 1953 and torn down in 2014 to make space for the new Frederiksbjerg School.

      ”It takes more for the bricklayers to work with the reused brick because of the stone’s variety in shape and color. But the extra effort increases by far the value of the building. The façade appears warm and glowing unlike other new-built brick houses,” architect Margrete Grøn explains. 

      The right solution

      Though the reused brick is more resource demanding in terms of demolition and construction, project manager and engineer Jacob Sølvsteen from Hoffmann the contractor, would not hesitate to agree to a similar project in future:

      ”What matters to us is that the material selection makes sense according to the building in question – in terms of architecture, sustainability, and economy. In this case, it was important to the judging committee that the heritage of the existing buildings somehow would live on in the new buildings. That is why we proposed to reuse the brick, and despite various challenges, I still think, it was the right choice.”

      It is yet rather rare to build projects of such a great scale in reused brick in Denmark, and the construction at Frederiksbjerg did challenge the capacity of the manufacturer “Gamle Mursten” (meaning “Old Bricks”) in the process of cleaning the total of 400,000 bricks.

      Frederiksbjerg School was recently awarded Danish School Building of the Year 2016. The school houses 0th-9th grade, a daycare facility, and a youth club. After hours the school building functions as a local community center.