Material Focus: SAHRDC

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While brick is nothing new to architecture, for many centuries it has been used in a static and redundant way that has left very little to the imagination.  Today, this traditional material is being treated in a new way.  No longer is the brick seen as a single unit that can be used to complete a monolithic, load-bearing wall.  Bricks are being stacked (often times by robots) to create a lighter and more dynamic form than was previously associated with the material.

The SAHRDC (South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center) in New Delhi, India was completed in 2005.  It takes the antiquated material, brick, and re-imagines its use.  Instead of forming the traditional, monolithic load-bearing wall Anagram Architects produces an undulating and permeable surface composed of bricks.  The façade references back to traditional Indian architecture and jharokhas (screen carved out of stone).  The openings allow for more articulation of the wall, light penetration and air flow while minimizing heat gain.  Unlike other articulated brick walls, this one was constructed entirely by hand.  Innovation in the SAHRDC comes with the actual application and unusual treatment of the brick to create a energetic and fluid wall that interacts/reflects the activity of the adjacent street .

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