High-quality bricks from German manufacturer Hagemeister have been specified for Levitt Bernstein's award-winning Ocean Estate regeneration project in London.
Bricks supplied by German manufacturer Hagemeister have played a central role in regenerating one of the most deprived estates in England. Architect Levitt Bernstein specified two types of Hagemeister brick, from the Alt Berlin and Mühlberg ranges, for over 450 newbuild homes on the award-winning Ocean Estate project in Tower Hamlets, east London.
The anthracite blue of Hagemeister's classic Alt Berlin gives a dense, engineered appearance, contrasting with the Mühlberg range, which provides grey-beige colours mixed with fine coal fire. The high-quality clinker material fits perfectly into the context of the neighbouring homes on the estate - a key concern for client East Thames Housing. The use of two-coloured grouting gives added depth and texture to the masonry.
Levitt Bernstein chairman Gary Tidmarsh says: "On the Ocean Estate, we had a real challenge to find two bricks that worked together but also sat well in its context of the surrounding housing, where there are several varieties of brick. With Hagemeister, we were able to blend the Alt Berlin and Mühlberg bricks together to overcome this."
The Alt Berlin bricks have been used on the ground floors of the new development, offering them a sense and feeling of solidity, with the Mühlberg bricks used on the upper floors, providing a lift and lightness to the whole streetscape.
The Ocean Estate regeneration was designed to be 'tenure blind', with identical materials and architectural treatment across the whole development. Variety is achieved through the contrasting bricks and the bright colours of the balconies.
More than 800,000 bricks from the Alt Berlin and Mühlberg ranges were used in the facades of the newbuild homes. The bricks were produced to a standard UK size of 215×102×64mm.
Modular Clay Products (MCP) was appointed by Levitt Bernstein to source the masonry for the Ocean Estate and chose Hagemeister after deciding British manufacturers could not deliver the type of brick required.
"We liked the clean, engineered appearance of Alt Berlin," says MCP managing director Tim West. "The clinker used in the Alt Berlin brick is central to the appearance. It is higher quality and more dense."
"The design required a number of bricks in unusual shapes and sizes, and Hagemeister manufactured all of these very professionally. The bricks were all made in one batch, which guaranteed a consistent aesthetic appearance across the site. Levitt Bernstein and East Thames Housing are delighted with the finished result," West adds.
The £200-million regeneration of the Ocean Estate has involved improving more than 1,200 existing council homes, demolishing poorly designed and run-down properties, and building more than 800 new mixed-tenure homes.
The project won the award for Best New Place to Live at the 2015 London Planning Awards, hosted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and was a finalist in last year's Housing Excellence Awards.