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Hamburg Brickworks

Part 1 Project 2014
Samuel Whiting
University for the Creative Arts Canterbury UK
Hamburg, renowned for the emergence of brick expressionism in the 1920s has a relationship with the material which can only be described as exhausted. With the driving force of Hamburg looking to cut carbon emissions by 26 percent in 2020 and the current way of producing brick proving to be an environmental disaster (the production of traditional brick making using a kiln releases an estimated 800 million tons of CO2 each year) it seems as if a new paradigm for the production of brick would be needed.

The project site is located within close proximity to the river Elbe and settled next to the Landdungsbrucken Train-station. The River Elbe itself, in recent years, has become a catalyst for which an explosion of serious ecological/economic problems may soon arise, this is because the River must be dredged every year in order for increasingly larger ships to access the port. Treatment Plants where the dredged sediment would usually be taken are quickly running out of space, and moving dredged sediment to another location within the Elbe brings contaminated sediments to the surface which is extremely harmful to the aquaculture throughout the river, however The Port of Hamburg is the backbone of the city’s economy and failure to provide access for larger ships would be extremely detrimental.

Re-introducing the brick as a formative and playful architectural material within a new scientific spectrum of design, Hamburg Brickworks engages the art of biologically growing brick using bacteria, and sediment dredged from the river Elbe with the Hamburg population, in which the chimney-like function of a traditional brickworks is infused with a more modern, ecologically friendly approach in order to create an ex positional narrative which will redetermine the relationship of the Hamburg population with the material. The bricks themselves will be distributed to various contractors around Hamburg and progressively become the primary building material for new constructions within Hamburg. The Brickworks itself becomes a salute and reinterpretation of brick expressionism through conventional and bespoke strategies, infusing economic and ecological issues into a single objective.

Samuel Whiting

Mr Oliver Froome-Lewis

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