Mesmerizing Brickwork Wraps This House in Poland
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Mesmerizing Brickwork Wraps This House in Poland

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By Anna Squier
An intricate brick pattern lends depth and texture to Red House, whose glass rear opens to a forest glade.

Recently nominated for the prestigious EU Mies Award, Red House by Biuro Toprojekt is located in Poland’s Upper Silesia on the edge of an forest glade. The 3,900-square-foot home, built of easily accessible materials, reflects a strong ecological bent.

The brick-and-glass Red House sits on the edge of a vast forest glade,  nestled in a section specifically allocated for new, single-family development.

The brick-and-glass Red House sits on the edge of a vast forest glade, nestled in a section specifically allocated for new, single-family development.

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The walls are constructed from hand-sorted, recycled bricks from nearby brick works. The bricks alternate in depth and orientation, with every other pair of bricks turned to have the short ends facing out. The unexpected placement with an otherwise standard building material creates an enriching movement of light and shadow across the facade. 

The steady rhythm and pattern of the brick creates a quilt-like facade.

The steady rhythm and pattern of the brick creates a quilt-like facade.

The shadows cast by the brickwork recalls the technique of chiaroscuro, the use of light and dark to create the illusion of a three-dimensional volume.

The shadows cast by the brickwork recalls the technique of chiaroscuro, the use of light and dark to create the illusion of a three-dimensional volume.

Brick encases the interior living spaces, while also quietly revealing them at special moments through an openwork pattern. At night, when the building goes dark, the openings shine as glowing pieces in the composition. 

An open brick courtyard defines the entry to the home.

An open brick courtyard defines the entry to the home.

The open courtyard conceals and reveals the private parking garage for the home.

The open courtyard conceals and reveals the private parking garage for the home.

Moments of transparency are further revealed upon entry, including open patchwork in the exterior walls and glazed openings.

Moments of transparency are further revealed upon entry, including open patchwork in the exterior walls and glazed openings.

At night, the open patchwork glows and expresses a new textural pattern.

At night, the open patchwork glows and expresses a new textural pattern.

The interior living spaces are muted and subdued in contrast to the warmth and texture of the exterior walls. Bright and light spaces look out onto the forested surroundings. Large picture windows and sliding glass doors bring nature to the forefront. 

Large sliding glass doors open the main living spaces to the landscape.

Large sliding glass doors open the main living spaces to the landscape.

The interior spaces are open, light, and bright.  In the dining room, which sits open to the kitchen, a simple decorative pendant accents a wood dining table.

The interior spaces are open, light, and bright. In the dining room, which sits open to the kitchen, a simple decorative pendant accents a wood dining table.

In the kitchen, a large picture window frames views of the surrounding forested land.

In the kitchen, a large picture window frames views of the surrounding forested land.

There is no band that separates the brick walls from the ground below. The house appears to grow out of the ground, blurring the line between land and building, building and sky. The colors and textures of the wall extend to the roof line, which over time will be covered with greenery and plantings, further harmonizing the house and its natural surroundings.

Upon approach, the home appears as a simple horizontal massing, accented by the textural play of crafted brickwork.

Upon approach, the home appears as a simple horizontal massing, accented by the textural play of crafted brickwork.

The warm, earthy tones of the brick extend to the roof line, minimizing the visual separation between wall and roof.

The warm, earthy tones of the brick extend to the roof line, minimizing the visual separation between wall and roof.

Related Reading: 10 Modern Structures That Use Brick in Interesting Ways

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Toprojekt

Structural Engineer: Toprojekt

Interior Design: Toprojekt