History of Bricks

Bricks dating back to 7000 years ago were first found in the Middle East. The first sun-dried bricks were made in Mesopotamia. In ancient times, a large amount of mud was deposited on the surface of the earth along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers after their eruption. These sediments had a special adhesion between them. After their water evaporated due to sunlight, cracks formed on their surface. The separated pieces, despite their irregularity, were used for building walls. It is noteworthy that the stoves of nomads (who were engaged in herding along the rivers) were gradually hardened under the influence of fire. This phenomenon led to the idea of baking the mud pieces and forming bricks with better resistance.

Brick-making in ancient Egypt

Engraving on bricks in ancient Iran

The use of bricks has spread from West Asia to west Egypt and then to Rome and east India and China. The Romans made use of fired bricks, and the Roman legions, which operated mobile kilns, introduced bricks to many parts of the empire. Roman bricks are often stamped with the mark of the legion that supervised their production. In the fourth century, Europeans began to use bricks. However, in the renaissance and baroque periods, the look of exposed brick became less popular and brick exteriors were often covered with render and plaster. But it came back in a big way in the early 19th century with the boom of the industrial revolution and the creation of simple brick housing.

Stamp marks of Roman legions

Colleseum of Rom

Bricks in Iranian Architecture

The origin of brick buildings in Iran can be traced back to 1250 BC. In later periods, bricks evolved and the baking of glazed and embossed bricks became common. Brick has been used as the main element in buildings such as Choghazanbil Ziggurat in Khuzestan, Kasra Arch in Ctesiphon and Firoozabad Palace Arch in Fars. These buildings are among the pre-Islamic brick buildings in Iran, which – technically and artistically – are very significant.

Choghazanbil Ziggurat

Kasra Arch

After Islam, architecture and the use of materials underwent changes. During this period, the Seljuks became the leaders in the field of brick decorations and gave new life to bricklaying. Brick was used as the main element in this period and a new type of working with bricks was obtained. During the Seljuk period, in addition to the facade, bricks were also used in the main structure of the building. In this valuable period of architecture, we witness the emergence of the most beautiful designs in different types of bricklaying. In the Safavieh period, we are faced with the development of the art of bricklaying in various ways. Thirty-three bridges, Aali Qapo, Naghsh Jahan Square complex, Khajoo Bridge are a few examples of this time.

33 bridges (Safavieh period)

Kharaqan Tower (Saljuk period)

Bricks in Modern Architecture

In modern architecture, the use of brick alongside other materials such as wood and glass creates a very beautiful and unique combination. The bricks used in modern facades are called face bricks. Face bricks that are produced in the form of plaques in different dimensions and colors have the appropriate durability for using on the exterior and are resistant against high and low temperatures, humidity and frost so that they are not damaged over time and in different seasons. Firebricks are one of the most popular types of face bricks. The raw material of this type of brick is a combination of different materials and clay. After forming, these bricks are baked in special kilns at high temperatures. After the baking process, the mechanical and chemical properties of these bricks are significantly improved. One of the advantages of firebricks are their high resistance to heat and humidity. Glazed bricks are another group of modern bricks over which a layer of glaze is applied in order to increase their resistance to corrosion and humidity. These bricks have a larger variety of color and are visually more attractive.
Shale, rustic and plaque bricks are other types of face bricks. In addition, glass bricks, white bricks and… are among the new materials that have been introduced to the market.

Private Villa Peschiera del Garda Italy-Ardielli Fornasa Associati

Saw Swee Hock Student Centre London School of Economics-O’Donnell + Tuomey

Brick House Rosario Argentina-Diego Arraigada

Mahallat Residential Building-Studio CAAT

Termeh Office Building-Farshad Mehdizadeh