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Is the brick actually holding up the building? In many modern buildings, it's just a veneer, about 1cm thick. The steelwork holds it up. The new Box.net HQ in Redwood City looks like a brick building, but it's not; it's steel and concrete with about 1cm of brick on the outside.

There's some nice work being done with brick today.[1] Some of this is gentrification, built to fit in with existing brick buildings, or to imitate them in new construction. All those examples have recessed windows, although not structural stone lintels. Many lintels today are precast stone and decorative; steel is carrying the load.

Robotic bricklaying is here.[2]

In earthquake country, you really don't want tall brick buildings where the brick is structural. San Francisco is very anti-cornice; in even minor earthquakes, overhanging masonry cornices tend to fall off and kill people.

[1] http://www.bdcnetwork.com/7-emerging-design-trends-brick-bui... [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppk4O7iyzPI

> Is the brick actually holding up the building?

This was my thought as well. The modern building is likely just using the brick as veneer, even if it is full-thickness brick. It's likely concrete walls with brick layered over it. The fact that the brickwork is poorly done likely doesn't matter except aesthetically. If all the brick fell off the building would still be standing.

The newer building is indeed ugly, and the brickwork looks cheap and poorly done. But that doesn't mean the technology has declined. It means the technology has advanced to the point that the brick is just ornamental.

Wouldn't you expect brick for ornamental purposes to look prettier than brick used for functional purposes?

No, you'd expect brick for ornamental purposes to look prettier than what it's covering.

I have heard stories of a whole brick wall falling off the home ... but the home was intact... it was not "glued"/secured properly.

I fully expect that the brick is structural in those examples. My university had brick dorms "the bricks". They had brick exterior walls and cinder block interior walls. The brick walls were brick on the outside and the inside and only one brick thick.

If the interior walls are cinder block, I would expect the brick to be purely aesthetic. Cinder blocks don't need brick next to them for strength if built correctly.

If there are cinderblocks on the inside, then the outside layer isn't structural. Depending on how old the building is, it might serve a purpose for insulation - either an 'air gap' or to sandwich proper insulation material between two layers. But the building will stand without the brick. This is actually the 'normal' way of building anything under, say, 4 stories in most of Western Europe.

I think even some old (100 year old) buildings w/ "full sized" bricks (not 1cm veneer) are still wood-frame construction w/ brick non-structural outerwork.

See http://www.carsondunlop.com/resources/articles/brick-houses-...

Definitely. That's still done today as well. Lots of homes are wood frame with full-thickness brick veneer.

The article mentions that it's not a wood-framed building, I think implying that it's a true layered (multi-wythe) brick construction:

My analysis doesn't even address brick problems associated with the switch from multi-wythe brick construction to brick veneer over wood framing. (Andres Hall is not a wood-framed building.) Although buildings with brick veneer over wood framing are usually better insulated than old multi-wythe brick buildings, they are frequently plagued by an entirely new category of water entry problems due to flashing errors, clogged air spaces, and missing weep holes. But that's a topic for another article.

I was excited to find your robot brick layer link, but it didn't look that great. There was still a chap doing some of the finishing work sitting alongside. I prefer the idea of programming the robots, leaving the site, and then returning to find your house complete! The 3d printing using concrete made more sense. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/video/2014/apr/29/3d-p...

> Robotic bricklaying is here.

Does this mean there are robot Freemasons in our future?

I think you've missed the joke...

This link seems more relevant: http://illuminatiwatcher.com/illuminati-freemason-symbolism-...

The robot is .. meh. I expected something like http://www.honolulutraffic.com/LayingBrickRoad.JPG, but vertical. That slow and hesitant 3 joints arm seems a bad idea.

The article uses the word "fa├žade" 7 times in reference to both the older and newer building. My takeaway is the emphasis on "technology" in the article is on form rather than function.


The article is using definition #1. I don't think the word is meant to imply anything beyond the literal, "the front of a building".

Thanks, I wasn't even aware there was another definition besides "superficial".

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