I would like to share with you some of the most aesthetically profound brick constructions in the world. My recent trip to Europe, Russia and Ukraine has reinforced by belief that Red Square in Moscow houses some of the best brick constructions in the world. One of my favourites in Red Square is the Russian historical museum, pictured above.
Built by architect Vladimir Sherwood (whose father was an English Engineer), the museum is constructed of red brick and is a prime example of Russian Revivalism. It was completed in 1894 after a 20 year construction period, and its walls (some of them 1.4 metres thick) contain nearly all facets of bricklaying including this precision and architectural construction.
Just consider for one moment the temperature change – from minus 40 deg C to plus 35 deg C – that is 70 degrees annual temperature range. The materials and the expansion and construction were all accounted for many years ago with not a single control joint and so few cracks in the brickwork!
As a bricklayer for over 40 years, and a contractor for 36 years, I appreciate that these buildings contain so much knowledge and so many diversifications in the bricklaying trade – corbelling, battered walls and many types of arches, niches, copings and plinths.
Look at the underside of the corbelling and notice underneath the supports (brickwork protrudes over the point of balance). Take into consideration that the roof is constructed in brickwork.
The brickwork/construction is to me a massive feat by any means. The amount of metacognition in the working out and the uniformity alone is mind blowing. In my opinion this is undeniably some of the best brickwork in the world.
PS. I worked in Russia in 2009 – the conditions are not to be recommended.
Author of the book – Bricklaying the Art