Considering that bricks might last for centuries, finding the right one could make a difference for generations to come. Furthermore, the difference is not just in functionality; aesthetically, the choice of brick can make all the difference. This is why the Danish brick specialist Harris has made it a point of pride to identify and supply the perfect brick for facades and paving.

If you think a brick is a simple standardised building component, think again. For 18 years, Harris, a small brick specialist consisting of husband-and-wife Annemarie and Christian Harris, has provided architects, designers and private homeowners with the perfect bricks to match their aesthetic and functional requirements – and economic framework.

Harris: Finding the right brick – a choice that could colour centuries

At the Old Town Museum in Aarhus, bricks have been used to create
Outdoor paving bricks in Scherfig’s Garden. a beautiful connection between different in- and outdoor spaces.

To do so, they draw on their many years of experience in their respective fields, and on their broad network of European family-owned brickworks. “Often when looking for the right brick, you are left on your own to browse through a catalogue at a construction market, and you end up with some sort of standard solution. Whereas what we aim to do is to match the project with the right brick, nothing is standard in our work,” says Annemarie Harris, who specialises in paving bricks while her husband specialises in bricks for facades.

Their combined knowledge means they are able to provide their customers with a solution that aesthetically unites buildings and their surrounding area. “It doesn’t mean that the bricks have to be the same,” stresses Christian Harris. “But it means that we can provide a solution that creates a feeling of continuation.”

Another aspect in which the Harris team has in-depth knowledge is the durability and sustainability of bricks. Bricks, Christian Harris stresses, provide both better durability and a lower carbon footprint than alternatives such as concrete or asphalt and can be reused if a building or surface is dismantled. Furthermore, for customers who wish to minimise their carbon footprint, the company is in the process of getting an EPD certification for their increasingly popular collection of used tiles this summer.

Harris: Finding the right brick – a choice that could colour centuries

Annemarie and Christian Harris have 18 years of experience in their respective fields: paving bricks and bricks for facades.

Sustainable for centuries

Brick houses and brick pavements may last for centuries, and this means that despite the significant energy expenditure required to burn the bricks, long-term, bricks come out favourably in terms of carbon footprints. To assess the footprint of their product, Harris has collaborated with an external advisor, which compared paving bricks to natural stone, asphalt, and concrete. Over 50 years, natural stone had the lowest CO2 impact. However, when considering emissions over 100 and 150 years, bricks are likely to have the smallest CO2 emissions. This is due to the durability of the stones and their minimal maintenance requirements.

Historically, Denmark has utilised wall bricks, which are burned at lower temperatures, more than paving bricks. “In Denmark, we don’t have a long tradition for paving with bricks, because the clay we have is not suitable for burning at the high temperatures that are required for paving bricks, but in Holland, when you dig down under the current roads, you will find the old paving bricks still intact,” explains Annemarie Harris.

This also means old tiles can be reused to reduce the carbon footprint of projects. Currently, Harris is working on documenting the EPD on their large collection of reused tiles allowing for customers to document their minimal carbon footprint. The fact that burned bricks require very little maintenance such as chemical cleans also weighs in favour of the bricks in terms of environmental considerations.

Harris: Finding the right brick – a choice that could colour centuries

Thanks to a broad network of European family-owned brickworks, Harris can supply the right brick almost no matter what the requirements may be.

Answering all the questions

Of course, the longevity of the product also puts extra pressure on getting it “just right”, but despite this and despite the wide use of bricks in both indoor and outdoor designs, customers are often left with very little advice when it comes to the effect of, for example, combining different colours of bricks with different colours of mortar, or different laying techniques and patterns. Harris, however, always ensures that all questions are answered in the process.

“We can help ensure you make the right choice through demonstrations in our showroom, at the project site, or design studio. This means that our customers will get answers to all of their questions, whether they be regarding colours, functional properties, cost or laying guidance,” says Christian Harris and rounds off: “we specialise in providing an expert service and close partnerships. That’s something we can do, thanks to our small size: we can help customers find the right match, almost no matter their requirements. It will not always have to be something artistic and super special, but it will never be a standardised solution.”

Harris: Finding the right brick – a choice that could colour centuries

The Old Town Aarhus.

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