Leading South African brick manufacturer, Corobrik, supplied over 600 000 bricks for the construction of new residential accommodation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN’s) Pietermaritzburg campus.
The university needed a modern, practical building to accommodate medical students. According to Llew Bryan Architects, the architects appointed to the project, the client specifically required that low maintenance materials should be used and energy efficiency, in terms of ongoing operational costs, was a further key consideration.This led to the decision to use clay bricks and clay face bricks. For the architectural team, Corobrik was the obvious supplier. It offers the range of products that the architects sought and the fact that Corobrik is the first company in sub-Saharan Africa to have been awarded a certificate for emissions reductions (CER) in its production processes – through the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism – also counted in its favour.
The architects considered it essential that the building should not present itself as mundane. They specifically chose bricks of contrasting colours and textures to articulate the building masses and achieve a vibrant, sculptural effect. The design was conceptualised to create a residential community around a shared resource centre in a landscaped environment. The rooms are clustered in groups of seven and eight, with shared kitchen, lounge and ablution facilities. Each floor accommodates two clusters around a common access link.
Rob Jardine, area sales manager for Corobrik Midlands, says Corobrik’s Opal Satin face bricks and Firelight Satin face bricks were used for the external walls while some 430 000 plaster bricks were used internally. In addition, Corobrik’s 50mm Tuscan Blend clay pavers were used for the pathways.
He says that the contrasting colours of the face bricks selected for the project are exclusive to Corobrik. “The clays from which our face bricks are made offer a distinctive range of colours, as the bricks are fired under high temperatures. They will not fade over time or deteriorate in severe weather or harsh environments.”
Jardine also points out that the pavers used are strong enough to carry both pedestrian and motor traffic.
“In addition, like the face bricks, the pavers are maintenance-free and totally recyclable – so the long-term carbon debt associated with ongoing maintenance is significantly reduced.”