Oct 144 min read

Role of Brick in Modern Architecture

written by

Aishwarya Bomble

Brick, a construction material dating back to around 7,000 BC, continues to be a cornerstone of architecture. Modern architects have discovered innovative ways to utilize brick, blending functionality with aesthetic appeal. Despite its simple form, brick offers limitless possibilities for design. Here are six projects that explore the potential of brick in modern architecture:

Here are some projects that explore brick in modern architecture!

1. Tate Modern Switch House (London, United Kingdom)

Architects - Herzog & de Meuron

Typology - Cultural Centre

Use - Exterior of latticed brickwork on concrete structure  

The Tate Modern Switch House stands as a testament to innovative brickwork in contemporary architecture. This extension of the Tate Modern gallery features a perforated covering of 336,000 bricks, seamlessly blending with Giles Gilbert Scott's original power station. The lattice-like brick exterior not only provides a visual connection to the historic building but also introduces a dynamic play of light and shadow.

Tate Modern Switch House - Brick in modern architecture - image 1.jpg

Source - Archdaily

2. IIM Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad, India)

Architects - Ar. Louis Kahn

Typology - Institute

Use - Massive brick masonry & highly geometric design

The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad showcases Louis Kahn's mastery of brickwork. The structure is a monolithic masonry, with countless individual bricks laid by hand to create arches, semi-circles, and other geometric forms. This intricate brickwork adds a timeless quality to the institute, embodying Kahn's philosophy of simplicity and monumentalism.

iim in ahmedabad designed by louis kahn-Brick in modern architecture - image 2.jpg

Source - Archdaily

3. Premier Office (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam)

Architects - Tropical Space

Typology - Office

Use - A dynamic facade of brickwork for light & ventilation

Premier Office in Ho Chi Minh City features a unique facade designed to inspire its occupants. Tropical Space architects created a double-layered brick curtain that allows for light and ventilation, enhancing the building's functionality. Inside, sliding glass doors complement the exterior, creating a harmonious blend of openness and privacy.

premier office tropical space-Brick in modern architecture - image 3.jpg

Source - Archdaily

4. Centre for Development Studies (Kerala, India)

Architects - Ar. Laurie Baker

Typology - Institute

Use - Curved double walls of perforated brick jaalis

Laurie Baker's Centre for Development Studies in Kerala exemplifies innovative use of brick. Baker employed curved double walls with perforated brick jaalis, ensuring proper light and ventilation while maintaining aesthetic appeal. This design not only meets the practical needs of the institute but also reflects Baker's commitment to sustainable architecture.

Centre for Development Studies - Brick in modern architecture - image 4.jpg

Source - iwan.com

5. Rookery Building (Chicago, USA)

Architects - Ar. Frank Lloyd Wright, John Root & Daniel Burnham

Typology - Office

Use - Historic example of exposed brick building in architecture

The Rookery Building is a historic landmark in Chicago, showcasing the early use of exposed brick in tall buildings. Standing 55 meters high with twelve floors, the building combines load-bearing masonry and steel framing. Its exposed brick facade highlights the architectural transition from traditional masonry to modern skyscrapers, demonstrating the versatility and enduring appeal of brick.

Rookery Building- Brick in modern architecture - image 5.jpgSource - architecture.org

6. Brick House (Mumbai, India)

Architects - iStudio

Typology - Residence

Use - Organic structure entirely made up of brick 

The Brick House in Mumbai is an example of sustainable and cost-effective architecture. iStudio employed rat-trap bond brickwork, filler slabs, brick jaalis, and arches to create an eco-friendly home. Built-in furniture made from local materials further reduces costs and environmental impact, making the Brick House a model of sustainable living.

Brick House by iStudio architecture - Brick in modern architecture - image 6.jpg

Source -Archdaily

Expanding the Horizons of Brick Architecture

These six projects illustrate the endless possibilities of brick in modern architecture. From cultural centers and educational institutes to offices and residences, brick proves to be a versatile and enduring material. Each project pushes the boundaries of creativity and engineering, demonstrating how traditional materials can be reimagined in contemporary contexts.

The architects behind these structures have successfully explored and experimented with brick, creating awe-inspiring designs that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The Tate Modern Switch House, with its innovative brick lattice, and the IIM Ahmedabad, with its geometric precision, highlight how brick can enhance both form and function. Similarly, the Premier Office and Centre for Development Studies show how brick can improve building performance by enhancing light and ventilation.

Moreover, historic buildings like the Rookery Building remind us of brick's timeless appeal and its role in architectural evolution. Meanwhile, modern residences like the Brick House in Mumbai demonstrate brick's potential for sustainable and cost-effective construction.


In conclusion, these projects are milestones in the field of architecture, showcasing the creative potential of brick. They inspire architects and designers to think beyond conventional uses of materials, encouraging innovation and experimentation. By reimagining brick, these architects have expanded our understanding of what is possible in modern architecture, setting new standards for creativity and sustainability.

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Aishwarya Bomble

Aishwarya Bomble

An architect who is always on the go to share stories of her countless journeys.