Three New Bailey is a commercial office building in Salford’s New Bailey masterplan, designed solely for HMRC. Designed by Make Architects, this is the UK's first large-scale building of interwoven brick. Make was inspired by Salford’s textile heritage, and the highly articulated red brick woven facades were constructed by Thorp Precast.
Ketley's Class A Staffordshire Red bricks, with their smooth finish, suited the project aesthetically. The natural red tones complemented the local Salford red clay brick seen in the local 19th-century warehouse architecture, and their precise sharp-edged aesthetic suited the tight tolerances and precision of the complex weave design.The facades are made from 650 large-scale brick-faced pre-cast panels using over 500,000 Ketley products, a combination of 350k standard Class A Staffordshire Red bricks (mostly perforated), 85k brick slips (with a dovetail key for pre-casting), 60k basket weave textured bricks, plus a large number of bespoke special bricks.
The Ketley plant is well set up to make large numbers of special bricks and, even more importantly, their bricks are independently tested for freeze thaw performance within a textured façade ensuring durability and longevity.
Make's design involves two different weave types: a plain (basket) weave for the short elevations and a twill weave for the long elevations. These articulate a subtle variation across the building structure whilst the curved corner panels and glazing help transition between the elevations.
Vertical and horizontal facade elements are treated independently which helps to emphasise the weave. Horizontal elements are formed with a ribbed and stacked red brick bond to emphasise the horizontal grain and provide contrast to the vertical red brick elements, which are laid in a stretcher bond.
The roof level is treated differently again. A distinctive perforated screen has been constructed with open Flemish bond hit-and-miss brick panels, providing a detailed brick pattern and texture to add grain to the facade. Ultra high-performance fibre reinforced concrete was used here to deliver super-slim brick facing panels to minimise the weight and remove the need for conventional steel reinforcement.
The brick continues inside the building in the reception and lift lobbies where matching horizontal spandrel panels with the same red Ketley brick bring the external architectural language into the interior. Bespoke textured woven bricks embossed with a shallow weave design created by rolling the face of the extruded clay column prior to drying and firing, have been used here to continue the woven theme and to be discovered by visitors as they sit in the lobby.
"Ketley Bricks were selected for the rich colour, finish, durability, and versatility of their products, and demonstrated a highly energetic proactive approach towards achieving good quality throughout the entire procurement process."
– Harvey Thorp, Managing Director at Thorp Precast
As a result, the job was completed on time and within budget during the height of a global pandemic. It is a great example of how precast technology is a modern day ally of the brick manufacturing industry, and it shows how the two industries can work together successfully, to advocate the use of traditional brick on the most challenging of building facades.
(Photography by Paul Karalius)