‘Chessboard’ masonry accommodates students with style

2021-05-04T12:52:56+00:00April 19th, 2021|Cover story|

By the Clay Brick Association of Southern Africa

This innovative architectural project at the University of the Witwatersrand has delivered affordable and sustainable student accommodation with style.

Photo by Clay Brick Association

Photo by Clay Brick Association

The Barnato extension at Wits University was delivered for 30% less than a new-build. Phase 1 was completed in 2019 and Phase 2 in 2020.

Celebrating diversity

The ‘chessboard’ of brick colours and textures celebrates diversity and the unique creativity that emerges under constraint.

To keep within the strict budget, the architect used end-of-range luxury bricks interwoven with inexpensive, standard masonry ‘commons’. The patterning and 3D effects of the exposed brick integrates the new extensions with the existing building. Clay brick is durable and low maintenance – it will outlast even the rowdiest student parties!

“Clay bricks are the obvious choice for student residences,”

Low maintenance

“Clay bricks are the obvious choice for student residences,” says Mariana Lamont, executive director of the Clay Brick Association of Southern Africa.

“With its ability to regulate noise, air humidity and temperature, clay brick masonry maintains a comfortable interior through the hot, rainy summer months, or freezing Highveld nights,” she explains.

“The density and mass of clay brick provides a resilient protective barrier with a maximum fire ratings.”