Reusing Brick Modules

John Hill, Martina Metzner
8. June 2022
The brick modules at the Resource Rows (Lendager Group, 2019) in Copenhagen were cut out of old buildings at the Carlsberg Brewery. (Photo: Lendager)

Recycling bricks is a tedious, time-consuming process that involves pulling the old bricks apart individually from the strong mortar holding them in place. A new system that "harvests" bricks — mortar and all — from old buildings is on display at the Resource Rows in Copenhagen's Ørestad Syd district. Lendager designed the residential project and developed the system for reusing old brickwork in modular panels.
 

The Resource Rows, a housing project with 92 dwellings in Copenhagen's Ørestad Syd district, was nominated for the 2022 EU Mies Award. (Photo: Lendager)

According to the company, the brick modules resulted in "saving as much as 29% CO2 by upcycling only 10% of all building materials." Furthermore, life-cycle assessments indicate a savings of 463 tonnes of waste. By cutting the facades of abandoned houses and other buildings and then installing the recycled brickwork in steel frames, the masonry can be attached to internal wall framing and insulation and used as prefab facade modules in new buildings, as at the Resource Rows.
 

The various colors and orientations of reused brick at Resource Rows gives the building a patchwork appearance. (Photo: Lendager)

The Lendager Group collaborated with Carlsberg Byen to cut out brick modules from Carlsberg's historic breweries in Copenhagen; the rest of the bricks for Resource Rows came from various old schools and industrial buildings across Denmark. The project also reused wood, which was charred and darkened in the shou-sugi-ban method, and "upcycled" concrete beams into the structure for a bridge that spans the building's central courtyard, among other means of reusing old materials in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
 

A version of this article was originally published as "Backstein-Module wiederverwenden" on German-Architects.

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