Enduring Design Workshop - Stonemasonry and Bricklaying

16 May 2022

The second Workshop in the Enduring Design series, run in partnership with Prince’s Trust Australia, was held on 22 April for School of Architecture undergraduate and postgraduate students. Focusing on bricklaying and stonemasonry, students learnt about the qualities of these materials, the heritage of these trades, and also enjoyed hands-on making sessions.

Generously hosted by Brickworks at their Rochedale plant, the day started with a tour of their manufacturing facility, including clay extraction from the onsite mine, an overview of the oxidisation options available, and brick firing in the onsite kiln. Students gained a unique insight into the brickmaking process, and the factors that affect the material’s qualities.

Dividing into two groups, the students then went to get their hands dirty! The bricklaying group was guided by brick restoration specialist Maurice Potrzeba of Mozbiz. Maurice shared his extensive expertise in heritage restoration, guiding these future architects in how best to design with brick, and how to approach the maintenance and restoration of heritage brick buildings in future projects. Aided by his son Alek and a team from Brickworks, Maurice then taught students the practical skills of bricklaying. Students practiced various brick bond styles, and learned different ways to work with mortar.

“I think having two of the top brick craftsmen in Australia teaching us was amazing!” - participating student.

The stonemasonry group were led by Steve Sullivan from TAFE Qld, who has extensive experience in stonemasonry and blocklaying, as well as stone maintenance and restoration. Using imported French chisels and traditional wooden mallets, students began by levelling a limestone block, before carving a chamfer and trying to round it to form a curved edge. They finished their blocks by chiselling their ‘Mason’s Mark’ into the top. Steve shared his blocklaying and restoration experiences with students, including restoration work on a 400-year-old fort in Abu Dhabi, as well as temples in Burma.

“I thought we would simply observe the teachers and not have the opportunity to actively participate…it was a positive experience.” - participating student.

To top off the day, students left with a copy of Materiality 2021 courtesy of Brickworks.

The UQ School of Architecture and Prince’s Trust Australia will continue the focus on sharing knowledge about enduring design principles with the next generation as a critical step in creating the climate-sensitive cities of the future. 

Enjoy seeing the footage of this student experience on our YouTube channel and you can read more about previous Enduring Design workshops here.