Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flemish Bond brickwork: And Bond, more Bond

 I love the excitement of learning something new about architecture as I get deeper into this hobby (or possibly rapidly becoming an obsession!).  Preservation in Mississippi has a new series, the Architectural Word of the Week.  Recently, it was Flemish Bond.  I knew it looked hauntingly familiar, and after due diligence, I located this example from a building I spotted in Atlanta last fall.
 At the time, I had no idea what it was called, just that I liked the uniqueness of the brickwork.  Flemish Bond is a type of brickwork where every other brick is a stretcher and every other brick is a header.  You can see the darker bricks are placed as headers, and the lighter bricks as stretchers.
 Then, it spiraled out of control and I began searching all my photos of buildings, seeking examples of Flemish bond.  This one is from the Water Valley courthouse in Yalobusha County.  Not all of the rows exemplify the Flemish bond technique, just some of them, so I don't know if that actually qualifies it as Flemish bond, or if it has some other name.  The example is in the 4th row above the gray brick trim on the window.
Another variation is called Common Bond, or American Bond, or English Garden Wall (Acadia University).  It is a row of headers replacing every nth course of bricks, where n is usually odd.  The headers are centered over headers in the rows of headers below.  This example is from a house in Mound Bayou.

 Also from Mound Bayou, this church illustrates Common bond.  
 From the side of a building in New Albany, note the row of headers in the pale green section mid page.
 This example is from the old Masonic Lodge building in New Albany.
 This example is the Graham, Texas old post office, a WPA building.
Heading back to Mound Bayou, again, the Bank of Mound Bayou building demonstrates Monk Bond and Common Bond.  There are rows of headers every 7 courses.  Monk bond is two stretchers between headers.   Here, it appears to be a variation in that there are more than two stretchers between the headers, so I don't know if that earns it a new name, or if there can be variations on the number of stretchers in between the headers.  This can be seen in the course that is almost in line with the door handle, and also in the row with the orange brick to the right of the door, about half way up the photo.

I finally had to call a halt, after as usual spending way too much time on this.  It is amazing all the little details that you miss if you don't know to look for them.  I imagine that bond design will be on my list to watch for from now on.  Thanks, Preservation in Mississippi!


ELMalvaney said...

You're welcome! Thanks to Thomas Rosell for coming up with that series and following through--he clearly has a full-fledged convert :-)

That Water Valley CH shot is interesting. I think what is seen there is more brick decoration than a full-fledged bond. In creating the quoin-like design around the window, the mason had to use different variations of the bricks to do what he wanted, so parts of it are somewhat Flemish and other sections aren't. A fascinating tour of bonds--you make a good disciple!

Suzassippi said...

Thanks. I have good mentors in you and Rosell. :)

Thomas Rosell said...

Wow your follow through is very thorough! When it is too tough to categorize as a bond I often just refer to the brick as a rowlock or shiner, or soldier or sailor. I'm sure you looked up all the tidbits on bricks, but if not have fun with those :-). My new favorite which I've learne about in the past year is Engineering Bricks, which turn out to be the superman and unseen hero of the masonry world.

Suzassippi said...

Well, I can't wait to go on that excursion as I love Superman. Sounds like shiner, soldier, or sailor means out of the norm?

Thomas Rosell said...

Soldiers are often used for headers or water tables. sailors and shiners are the same face of the brick, one is vertical the other is horizontal. That face of the brick is usually found in herringbone patterns.