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This month, the Brick Industry Association (BIA) honored 44 projects across the globe with its 2023 Brick in Architecture Awards. The awards program has showcased projects with exemplary designs and applications since 1989, recognizing projects that range in scale and typology and fall under nine separate award categories: Craftsmanship, Thin Brick, International, Residential Single Family, Commercial, Residential Multi-Family, Education (Colleges & Universities), Education (K-12), Paving and Landscaping, and Historic Renovation. Notable awardees include COOKFOX, Leong Leong, and Gensler.

Founded in 1934, the BIA is a national trade association representing distributors and manufacturers of clay bricks, as well as companies providing related services and products.

In a statement, BIA president and CEO Ray Leonhard noted in recognizing the awardees that “brick is a versatile material that offers limitless design possibilities.”

The nine Best in Class awardees from each category are summarized below. All 44 of the 2023 Brick in Architecture Award honorees can be viewed here.

Commercial & Craftsmanship Award Winner

Project: Ace Hotel Toronto
Location: Toronto
Architect: Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
Brick Manufacturer: Endicott Clay Products Company
Mason Contractor: Limen Group

The Ace Hotel Toronto, designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, was awarded both Best in Class in the Commercial category, as well as the overall Craftsmanship Award. Located in the city’s Fashion District, home to former textile factories and warehouses, the reddish-brown brick of the 123-room hotel is intended to reflect that historic context. The bricks are arranged in both stack and running bonds—the latter, in a flourish, follows the undulations of the triple-height ground floor.

Education, Colleges & Universities

Project: TCU Music Center
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Architect: Bora Architects
Brick Manufacturer: Acme Brick Company
Mason Contractor: Wilks Masonry LLC

TCU Music Center.

TCU Music Center. Photo © Louis E. Curtis Jr.

Texas Christian University’s Music Center consolidates the School of Music’s scattered facilities under one roof and anchors a new arts district within the university’s sprawling 300-acre campus. Designed by Portland, Oregon-based firm Bora Architects, the Music Center’s buff brick, a yellowish brown, and limestone detailing  is used across the facade and the interior to mirror the prevailing material palette found across the campus.

Education, K-12

Project: John Webb Elementary School
Location: Arlington, Texas
Architect: BRW Architects
Brick Manufacturer: Cloud Ceramics
Brick Distributor: Blackson Brick Company
Mason Contractor: Accurate Masonry of Texas, Inc.

John Webb Elementary.

John Webb Elementary School. Photo © Parrish Ruiz de Velasco

The new Jonn Webb Elementary School replaces an outdated structure from the 1960s. Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, a firm out of Dallas, led the design team, and sought to establish the school as something of a gateway for the surrounding community. To that end, a series of courtyards are carved out of the building’s massing as places of gathering that, with the help of variegated brick and their Flemish-bond protrusions, establish a profound presence.

Historic Renovation

Project: Foundry 101
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Architect: CambridgeSeven
Brick Manufacturer: The Stiles & Hart Brick Company
Mason Contractor: Fernandes Masonry, Inc.

Foundry101 in Cambridge.

Foundry 101. Photo © Anton Grassi

Unsurprisingly, brick is often used for historic preservation projects, and CambridgeSeven’s Foundry 101 is an exemplar of that. The project adaptively reuses a century-old iron foundry within the Kendall Square Innovation District as a 50,000-square-foot incubator for visual and performing arts, as well as small businesses and technology and workforce education. Here, reddish-brown brick was used as an integral material for the restoration of the building’s Federal-style facade.


Project: TIC Art Center
Location: Guangzhou, China
Architect: DOMANI Architectural Concepts
Brick Manufacturer: LOPO China

TIC Center in China.

TIC Art Center. Photo © Vincent Wu

Brick takes center stage at the Times I-City. Designed by Guangzhou-based DOMANI Architectural Concepts, the project serves as an institutional hub within a larger 50 million-square-foot urban development. Its many exhibition spaces and administrative offices are accessed through a plaza paved with rust-colored brick that transitions to an arcade of Roman-style bricks of the same color and a sunscreen composed of equilateral triangular modules.

Paving & Landscaping

Project: West End Square
Location: Dallas
Architect: Field Operations
Brick Manufacturer: Whitacre-Greer
Brick Distributor: Blackson Brick Company
Mason Contractor: Paver Pro

West End Square.

West End Square. Photo © Sam Oberter

West End Square is the product of a collaboration between landscape architecture studio Field Operations, Parks for Downtown Dallas, and the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department. A new neighborhood park within the West End Historic District, the site’s reddish-brown brick is arranged in a herringbone pattern as a paving element that abuts green landscaping and outdoor benches. 

Residential Multifamily 

Project: 1 Boerum Place
Location: New York
Architect: SLCE Architects
Brick Manufacturer: Taylor Clay Products
Brick Distributor: Belden Tri-State Building Materials
Mason Contractor: HDK Construction

1 Boerum.

1 Boerum Place. Photo © Michael Young; Avery Hall Investments

Downtown Brooklyn is no stranger to development—the neighborhood has undergone explosive residential growth in the last two decades. 1 Boerum Place, designed by SLCE Architects, is one such project joining that scene. The 21-story tower includes nearly 100 apartments, and its staggered form is clad with Roman-style grayish-white brick in a nod to the nearby historic buildings.

Residential Single Family

Project: Canvas House
Location: Toronto
Architect: PARTISANS
Brick Manufacturer: Taylor Clay Products
Brick Distributor: Thames Valley Brick
Mason Contractor: Finbarr Sheehan

The Canvas House in Toronto.

The Canvas House. Photo © Teddy Shropshire, Younes Bounhar

The Canvas House is a bold single-family project designed by PARTISANS that  riffs on the surrounding historic yellow-brick Georgian homes with a wavy, pixel-like brick facade. While seemingly complex, the facade is, in fact, composed of a randomized pattern consisting of just five repeating brick units.

Thin Brick

Project: 345 North Morgan
Location: Chicago
Architect: Eckenhoff Saunders
Brick Manufacturer: Interstate Brick
Brick Distributor: Bricks Incorporated
Mason Contractor: Illinois Masonry Corporation

345 North Morgan in Chicago.

345 North Morgan. Photo © Kendall McCaugherty

The Fulton Market District was formerly one of Chicago’s bustling meat-packing and warehousing neighborhoods that, in more recent years, has seen a surge of commercial development. Designed by local firm Eckenhoff Saunders, 345 North Morgan is a ground-up office building featuring a thin-brick veneer arranged along Romanesque Revival proportions to blend in with its surroundings.