Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Porous Masonary Wall

"While masonry is often perceived as impenetrable, a suitable material for keeping out wind and rain, it is actually by nature porous, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the specific material and its treatment. Cavity walls, for example, are designed to shed any water that may weep its way through the outer brick and mortar facade. Brick is seen as a veneer that keeps out most air and water, but it is not the sole means of doing such.Some architects exploit this inherent porosity of masonry -- be it brick, stone or concrete -- by designing walls that allow light, air and water to penetrate. The most famous examples are surely Frank Lloyd Wright's four Textile Block Houses in sunny California. Wright used horizontal and vertical steel reinforcing bars and concrete grout (instead of standard mortar) to create three-dimensional compositions of flat and textured custom blocks, the latter either open or with glass inserts. The 1923 Freeman House shows the wonderful effects of Wright's experimentation, namely making the "gutter-rat" (the architect's term for standard concrete blocks) appear lighter than it really was, ironically aided by the invisible strength and weight of steel..." to find out more...

passage & images from Archidose



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