This morning, I had the epiphany that it was on the Preservation in Mississippi blog, not mine. It is called "pigeonhole corner detail" in the event you are (1) thinking of building a house with this design, or (2) have a house with this design and want to know what it is.
Cyril M. Harris in the Dictionary of Architecture and Construction described the pigeonhole corner:
…an acute angle formed in a brick wall, using square-ended bricks that have not been shaped."As you can read from the MissPres post, there are differing points of view (not the theme I had in mind originally, which was in a philosophical vein, but sometimes, once the moment of inspiration has passed, you just need to let it go and move on) about the utility of the pigeonhole corner. Criticisms included:
- corners collect dirt, cobwebs, debris
- critters nest in the corners
- cheap and structurally unsound
While the first two clearly are possible, the second two are not necessarily so. According to Rosell in MissPres Word of the Week: Pigeonhole Corner, there are "high end" buildings with pigeonhole corners, and property executed, the brickwork can add interesting detail to a building without compromising structural soundness.