Modular Odyssey – Danish Bricks nr. 1


And that quote is especially true for Danmark. Danish people love their brick houses. Bricks are considered aesthetically pleasant and their durability has been proven by centuries of use. First bricks were produced more than 800 years ago and although more expensive than timber, they slowly replaced it because of their fire resistance. The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, is predominantly built from bricks and most other cities as well. Denmark is a country built on clay as well as built from clay. Bricks are produced mainly around the Flensborg Fjord, close to German borders. There are many producers and the brick sizes may vary, although “Danish standard brick” is the most common. IMG_0514.JPG

Standard danish brick has a size of 228x108x54 mm. And it is an example of a module. When we want to dimension a building made of bricks, we have to observe, how are two bricks put together. Between bricks, there is a mortar joint, holding them together. This joint is 12 mm thick. That gives us 240 mm when we have a full brick with a joint. This is a basic unit. Module measurement. When we want to create an opening in brick wall, we have to think about the second joint that will be left out on the other side, hence the openings are 12 mm wider than module measurements. And finally, pier measurements, that might be for example length of the wall, corner to corner. There we have one less joint and therefore we subtract one joint. In the sketch below you can see an example with two bricks.IMG_0517.JPG

One of the reasons why the bricks are so strong is because of the bonding. The force applied to the last course of bricks is spread evenly to bricks below. If the joints are stacked above, each segment of the wall might tumble over.


And when you put more bricks together, wall is made. And it gives the building the proper scale. The bricks are sized to be put together by hand, the size is just right to quickly put them together by bricklayer. And that gives the buildings the proper human scale.


And they age so beautifully.

What do you think about bricks? Do you use them in your country? Have you seen any interesting details made of bricks?




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