Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 5–25 | Cite as

Brick Patterning on Free-Form Surfaces

  • Shaghayegh Rajabzadeh
  • Mario Sassone


With the aim of proposing vaults and domes in contemporary architecture, this paper explores an innovative method to help designers model the brick patterning on a curved surface automatically and interactively, especially during the early design phases, when most important decisions are made. The focus is on the development of a modeling approach to patterning, capable of defining the brick courses, handling mortar thickness, and controlling all the related geometrical issues of free-form surfaces. A computational environment has been developed and implemented to simulate patterning in 3-D space, allowing the user to develop the arrangement of bricks on a desired structure. With this digital tool it is possible to model different kinds of patterns such as stretcher bond or herringbone pattern on any kind of free-form surface, increasing the accuracy and speed of construction and enabling the designer and builder to estimate the brick requirements before fabrication.


Masonry vaulting Brick dome Computational morphogenesis Brick pattern Bricklaying Interactive tool Automatic brick pattern modeling 


  1. Afsari, K., M. Swarts, and T. Gentry. 2014. Integrated generative technique for interactive design of brickworks. Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon) 19: 225–247.Google Scholar
  2. Bonwetsch, Tobias, Fabio Gramazio, and Matthias Kohler. 2007. Digitally fabricating non-standardised brick walls. In: ManuBuild, Proceedings of the 1st International Conference, Rotterdam, Mark D. Sharp, ed., pp. 191–196. London: CIRIA., accessed 28 May 2016.
  3. Como, Mario. 2013. Statics of Historic Masonry Constructions. Springer Series in Solid and Structural Mechanics 1. Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Delougaz, Pinhas. 1933. Plano-convex Bricks and the Methods of their Employment. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations 7. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  5. Davis, Lara and Philippe Block. 2012. Earthen masonry vaulting: Technologies and transfer. In: Building Ethiopia, sustainability and innovation in architecture and design, vol. I, Zegeye Cherenet and Helawi Sewnet, eds., pp. 218–231., accessed 28 May 2016.
  6. Escrig, F. 2006. The Great Structures in Architecture. Ashurst, Southampton: WIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fallacara, Giuseppe. 2009. Toward a Stereotomic Design: Experimental Constructions and Didactic Experiences. In: Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Construction History, Cottbus., accessed 28 May 2016.
  8. Fletcher, Bannister. 1976. History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, 17th ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  9. Garcia, Julián, Joaquin Grau, Carlos Martín, Roberto Molinos, and Juan M. Perez. 2012. Laying out Tile Vaults with Local Positioning Systems. Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial Meeting of The Construction History Society Of America, MIT, 2 November, 2012., accessed 28 May 2016.
  10. Grunbaum, Branko and G. C. Shephard. 1990. Tilings and Patterns. New York: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  11. Imbern, Mattias. 2014. (Re)Thinking the brick: digital tectonic, masonry systems. In: Rethinking Comprehensive Design: Speculative Counterculture, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA 2014)/Kyoto 14-16 May 2014, pp. 211–220., accessed 28 May 2016.
  12. Lachauer, Lorenz, Matthias Rippmann and Philippe Block. 2010. Form finding to fabrication: A digital design process for masonry vaults. In: Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures Symposium, 8-12 November 2010, Shanghai., accessed 28 May 2016.
  13. Méndez Echenagucia, Tomas, A. Capozzoli, Y. Cascone, and M. Sassone. 2015. The early design stage of a building envelope: Multi-objective search through heating, cooling and lighting energy performance analysis. Applied Energy 154: 577–591.Google Scholar
  14. Moussavian, E. and R. Gentry, R. 2014. Digital tools for automated generation of vaulted brick assemblies for construction and structural analysis. Presented at the 9th International Masonry Conference, Guimaraes, Portugal, 7–9 July 2014.Google Scholar
  15. Ochsendorf, John. 2010. Guastavino Vaulting: The Art of Structural Tile. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  16. Rajabzadeh, Shaghayegh and Mario Sassone. 2014. The BRICKSHELL Meditation Center: A collaborative Masonry Project. In: Shells, Membranes and Spatial Structures: Footprints. Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium, 15–19 September 2014, Brasilia, Brazil.Google Scholar
  17. Rippmann, Matthias, Lorenz Lachauer and Philippe Block. 2012. Interactive Vault Design. International Journal of Space Structures 27(4): 219–30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di TorinoTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations