Clay face bricks selected for hapo at Freedom Park

Corobrik’s Country Classic Satin face bricks were chosen to complement the copper elements in the new museum building at Freedom Park outside Pretoria.Freedom Park at Salvokop, overlooking Pretoria, is a treasured site of remembrance and healing for local and international visitors. It tells the story of the different struggles that all the people of South Africa have faced to win the freedom we enjoy today.

Dave Ledbitter of Corobrik says having supplied the bricks that were used for the construction of the recently completed //hapo at Freedom Park, the company is proud to be associated with this revered historical site.

The building, a museum which forms part of the bigger landscaped park, was designed by award-winning architect Jeremy Rose of Mashabane Rose. Project architect, Dieter Brandt of the Office of Collaborative Architects (GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, MMA Architects and Mashabane Rose), specified Corobrik’s Country Classic Satin bricks to be used for construction and as pavers.

The building makes extensive use of copper sheeting, rivets and bolts and the bricks were chosen to complement the copper and because they are similar in colour to the red/tan earth in the area.

In addition, Corobrik’s clay face bricks provide the durability and structural strength that was required for the walls, some of which lean at acute angles, adjoining vertical walls. Over 550 000 Country Classic Satin face bricks were supplied to the project.

Brandt says that the architectural features of the museum are unique and Corobrik’s Country Classic range was ideal for the envisioned theme.

“The idea for the museum came from a sketch by Jeremy Rose. In certain African traditions, ancestors are said to reside within boulders. This concept evolved into the creation of large boulder-like volumes that contain story-telling spaces. The boulders are planted at the base of Salvokop Hill like a rock ‘outcrop’, surrounded by Corobrik’s Country Classic bricks.

“Both pavers and bricks were stack bonded so the brickwork is kept simple throughout the museum.

“The reddish colour of the face bricks blends perfectly with the copper and, considering the unusual angles and scope of work, the quality and durability of the bricks were key factors. We found the total package in Corobrik.”

Brandt adds that one of the reasons for using copper is that “over time the copper will fade to green, which will represent growth in terms of the design. We needed a guarantee that the brick would remain red, without fading over time, to maintain its representation of the earth. We got that assurance from Corobrik,” he says.

A further benefit of the bricks is that they are fired on natural gas – nearly halving the greenhouse gas emissions associated with coal-firing, so they have a relatively low carbon footprint. Corobrik was the first company in sub-Saharan Africa to be awarded CER (Certified Emissions Reductions) by the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism. In addition, the maintenance-free nature of the clay bricks eliminates the carbon debt associated with a lifetime of maintenance.

The main entrance to Freedom Park is well up the Salvokop hill and, with heavy rains, the steep approach proved quite a challenge for brick deliveries. Corobrik adopted an appropriate delivery plan using smaller vehicles to ensure that the products were delivered without delays.

With the opening of museum Brandt says, “We are certain that //hapo will offer visitors a deeper understanding of South Africa and its people.”

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