Face brick is a material used in South Africa so abundantly it could be considered a ‘style’. It is sprinkled all over, in some places more than others. With a focus on the few towns and villages along the stretch of coastline from Cape Agulhas to Rooi Els, this exercise takes a closer look at the material in use, exploring the memories and ideas brought to the fore when we take the time to consider it as an ‘it’.
This is an observational exercise. Born out of a photo essay and a conflicted feeling toward the humble brick, we have asked a few observers to lend us their eyes and voices, to help understand our own feelings, and perhaps those of others, toward the naked brick. It is an outlet for ideas that may not matter much but may help us to understand ourselves and others better.
It is often criticized, written-off and actively ignored. Other times it is celebrated and exaggerated. More often than not, it simply is. And its users have chosen it for reasons far less obtuse than those we hope to dive into – it is cost effective, it is abundant, it is local. It’s simply what is done. Architectural movements have been shaped by these ideals since we first began to form shelter. Using those three pillars, we hope to wander into the realm of intention:
– the Economy of the material. The process required to turn it into a building and the cost of keeping it just so.
- the Abundance of its use means most of us have memories associated with it. These can tell us some deeper part of who we are or where we’ve come from. It is about Memory.
- it is of the Place. It is about the soil. And the soil speaks volumes.
Part photo essay, part audio recordings, FACE VALUE is a small archive, a collection of ponderings, musings, critiques, gushes and frustrations, not to be taken too seriously, unless you want to. It’s a starting point, but not necessarily for a journey. It’s up to you, really.