In Brazil, it’s known as Cobogó. In India, they call it Jaalis. The French term is Brise-soleil. Here we know it as Breeze Block. Call them what you will, these little units of awesome are making a massive comeback.
Back in the 50s and 60s, breeze blocks were hot to trot. They were used extensively by architects in both
But luckily for us all, this underrated building material is making a huge come back. Perhaps this has a lot to do with the resurgence of our collective interest for all things mid-century modern. But I would hope our love of breeze block is based on its merit, rather than an architectural trend. As I said, this is one building material that has the potential to excite the most hard-core of minimalist architects as well as the lovers of intricate ornaments, and anyone in between – breeze block can effectively please us all. I don’t think too many other materials out there can make the same claim.
Breeze block allows us to construct screens that are at once durable, functional and beautiful. They offer sun shading, weather protection, security and ventilation. All this comes with an added bonus of ornament and
And all this still leaves you in doubt, fear not. Yellowtrace to the rescue! Today we bring you many, many, MANY extremely delicious projects around the world that have used breeze blocks and their many brilliant interpretations to an extraordinary effect. From
PS. alt-J were on it way back in 2012 when they released their smash-hit
Images courtesy of Aesop.
Aesop Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil by Campana Brothers // In late 2016, Australian skincare brand
Without a doubt, the hero if this beautiful interior is the Brazilian Cobogó brick, which creates a textural and a natural, earthy palette for the walls, ceiling, flooring, countertops and product displays. If this store doesn’t emphasise the beauty and versatility of traditional terracotta brick modules, then I’m not sure what does.
The Lantern by in Ha Noi, Vietnam by Vo Trong Nghia Architects // Located within Hanoi’s Dong Da district, this newly built gallery and lighting showroom for Panasonic was designed by
The terracotta blocks were traditionally used in Vietnam before air-conditioning. Designed for tropical climates, they allow for passive ventilation and shade from harsh sunlight. The blocks are both functional and inexpensive at approximately 70 cents, amounting to just over $4,000 AUD for the 5,625 blocks used. Furthermore, the bespoke fixing system allowed for a quick and simple assembly.
Ap Cobogó apartment in São Paulo, Brazil by
This project takes advantage of ceramic breeze block, exploring its function, colour, graphics and light effects. Used predominantly on the apartment’s partition walls, Chu has also incorporated the block in the furniture specifically designed for this apartment. Genius.
Images courtesy of
Disfrutar Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain by El Equipo Creativo // Only in Spain are designers able to get away with using a melange of ceramic breeze blocks in a variety of patterns and colours, and totally get away with it.
From the kitchen, the bar and the patio, ceramics, in their different formats, lead visitors through various spaces that capture the essence of the local context. This versatile material creates a changing atmosphere, while communicating values the restaurant owners sought to communicate – sincerity, humility and respect for the history of the Mediterranean.
Apartment in Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam by Sanuki Daisuke Architects // Driven by the request from their client,
Naranga Avenue House in Goald Coast, Australia by
From the street and at a distance, the brick screen at Naranga Avenue House intentionally resemble breezeblock. Given the modernist history of the area, the clients were keen to make use of it in this project. However, the pesky budget issues with the material prevented their use from early in the design process. “We wanted to play with breezeblocks, a material that has its place here, but breezeblocks are expensive and need to be painted for protection from the corrosive coastal air,” said Russell.
Rather than giving up, the architect resourcefulness led him to specify
“Fixed to expressed hardwood framing we make our screen. Sun becomes a dappled light, breeze moves through, rain becomes mist, daily rituals can happen in privacy, but with views or awareness of your surrounds”, explains Russell. Legend.
Photography by Ioana Marinescu.
The New Crematorium at The Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden by
Perforated bricks were chosen as a key material in many of the interiors both for their texture and scale, as well as acoustic performance. Their white glaze reflects and accentuates the light from the skylights in the roof above. Shown here is the public space, known as the Ceremony Room, where visitors and mourners gather to pay their final respects to those passed.
La Tallera Gallery & Museum in Morelos, Mexico by Frida Escobedo // Mexican architect
Photography by Park Youngchae.
Khmeresque, University of the Nations in Battambang, Cambodia by Archium + Kim in-cheurl // “Building a temple for Won Buddhism, based on Mahayana Buddhism in Cambodia, the Hinayana Buddhist country, made us consider the relationship between religion and architecture as a whole,” explain the design team at
Khmeresque is ultimately a religious space designed as a gathering place for local people. Divided loosely into an indoor and outdoor area, the focus of the architecture was to creating a beautiful expression familiar to Cambodian Won Buddhists. For this reason, only local and readily available materials, such as local bricks, were used to build the temple. This decision was not only reached for financial motives, but also to ensure the temple looked and felt familiar to the locals.
Inverdon House in Bowen, Australia by Chloe Naughton // Designed for a soon-to-be-retired couple, Inverdon House certainly challenges ‘the norm’ in the small regional North Queensland town where it is located. This is largely for its use of the hard-wearing, low-maintenance material of masonry which would otherwise typically be hidden in paint, plasterboard and render.
Vital for tropical living, the house blurs boundaries between interior and exterior. Only the two bedrooms are air-conditioned for especially humid nights. Awnings, shading, louvers and