Cotswold manufacturer helps create UK's Best New Building
PUBLISHED: 10:52 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 13 April 2017
A brick manufacturer from Blockley is celebrating after winning a haul of major industry awards for one of its flagship building projects - the Newport Street Gallery in London
The iconic building, which is built from two special blends of brick supplied by Northcot Brick, has not only scooped the much-coveted 2016 Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building but has also recently been declared the Supreme Winner and Best Public Building in the prestigious Brick Development Association (BDA) Awards.
Designed by architects Caruso St John, the Newport Street Gallery occupies a terrace of new-build and refurbished blocks which line Newport Street’s eastern side opposite the elevated railway arches in Vauxhall, south London.
The project involved the conversion of three listed buildings, which had been purpose-built in 1913 as scenery painting workshops for the booming Victorian theatre industry in the West End.
The gallery runs the length of the street, with the three Victorian buildings flanked at either side by new buildings.
The new semi-industrial facades were made with two distinct bespoke blends of brick, which were specially-created by Northcot Brick, which is known for its advanced colour-matching expertise and traditional techniques, to closely match the ‘common’ style brick of the listed buildings.
The majority was constructed in Newport Light blend (181,000 bricks) a hard pale brick and Newport Dark blend (17,000 bricks), both of which were laid in a mixture of header and stretcher bonds.
In addition, 6,000 bespoke handmade and standard machine-made special shapes were manufactured to the architect’s specifications to match both blend types.
Michael Brown, Managing Director at Northcot Brick said: “2016 has been an outstanding year for us in terms of our growing brick sales and industry recognition. For a small independent brick manufacturer, which accounts for less than one per cent of the UK’s annual brick production, to be associated with both a BDA Supreme Award and a Stirling Prize in one year is a truly remarkable achievement.
“It underlines the growing importance of brick as a material and the value that traditional craftsmanship and the individuality of our bricks can bring to this highly-mechanised and largely commodity driven industry.”
Founded in 1926 by Sir Winston Churchill’s cousin, Captain E G Spencer-Churchill, Northcot Brick has preserved age-old handmade brick-making and firing techniques, many of which have been passed down through generations of local families.
It is one of the last manufacturers in the country to use a traditional coal-fired kiln and even some of the clay preparation machinery dates back to the 19th Century.
The company, which now employs 50 employees and produces over 12 million bricks per year, has been recognised for the quality of its projects including Manchester’s Whitworth, which also won the BDA Supreme Award in 2015.
The company also holds BS EN ISO 14001 certification as part of its commitment to control emissions, improve efficiency and environmental performance.