Everyone knows brick construction is the ultimate in stability, longevity, and energy efficiency. Even so, the evolving use of brick throughout human history is a fascinating subject. Last time, we talked about bricks use in early civilization, and now Champion Brick, your brick and pavers experts in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Southeastern Wisconsin, is back to present to you with more details on the history of brick. Read on to learn more about this fascinating and historical building material.
During the 12th century, bricks were once again introduced in northern Germany, as the Italians bought their methods of construction over from northern Italy. The brick Gothic Period which resulted from this new construction boom was a reduced style of architecture borrowing from the Gothic architecture of northern Europe. Fired red clay became the most commonly used brick to build buildings in this time, and brick Gothic style buildings can be found in the Baltic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, and Russia. The architectural style is noted for a lack of figural sculptures, which had been previously carved in stone. Bulky bricks did not work well for Gothic figure sculpture. Most buildings can be identified by the use of split courses of bricks in varying colors, with red brick, glazed brick, and white lime plaster. Eventually, specially shaped bricks were introduced and used to imitate the architectural sculptures.
Renaissance architecture followed next, known for its emphasis on symmetry and proportionality in design. Simple, orderly arrangements of columns and other forms seemed to replace the more complex and irregular profiles of medieval buildings, and the use of arches and domes became commonplace. Straight courses of brick generally made up external walls, adding an orderly arrangement to the exterior of the building. In the interior, exposed brick walls became unpopular and brickwork was generally covered by plaster.
This continued through the Baroque period, with its heavy use of red brick walls. Only during the mid 18th century did visible brick walls once again regain some popularity.
Check back for our next post as we continue to examine the fascinating history of brick!
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