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10 great masonry homes

Looking for ideas for your self build or renovation? Emily Brooks shares her favourite brick and block projects

Handmade brick

Water Meadow, a collaboration between Kate Jackson Architects and Mathew Ingham Design, is a brick and block house with an integrated steel frame to enable the daring cantilevered glazed elements at the rear. The wall build-up (from outside to inside) is of Northcote handmade bricks, a 50mm cavity, Kingspan Kooltherm insulation and blockwork. The brick was specified in part because the house was in a conservation area, full of older masonry homes – and despite its modern look, the property blends in.

The heavyweight structural method of brick and block has lots of practical advantages. Cavity wall construction is the most common way to build in the UK, which means that materials (chiefly blocks and bricks) and skilled, knowledgeable contractors are relatively easy to find. This system creates homes with a high thermal mass, meaning it’s very good for providing a comfortable, even and predictable internal temperature. And with careful specification (see the top tips box, overleaf) they can even achieve Passivhaus standards of energy efficiency. While a brickwork outer skin is common, blockbuilt homes can be finished in any number of materials, from render to timber or metal cladding. These projects demonstrate masonry’s flexible nature as well as its ability to deliver the wow factor.

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Build It's Self Build Education House - Cladding a timber frame home - Renovating a bungalow - Myth buster: Renewable Tech