Designing with Brick, Part II

with Anthony Catania
1 AIA CES Learning Unit|HSW

In the pursuit of achieving a traditional aesthetic, many contemporary buildings are clad in brick—a material that is often associated with traditional architecture and methods of construction. Historically, the detailing and appearance of a brick wall was derived directly from the methods by which the wall was built, and the natural constraints of the material were often the basis for the architectural expression of a façade. However, contemporary construction methods make it tempting to regard brick simply as a traditional wallpaper, affixed to the exterior of the building. This course will examine strategies to design with brick and properly detail brick buildings to both respect the constraints inherent to the material, as well as satisfy the practical realities of cavity-wall construction.

This course is a continuation of Designing with Brick, presented at the 2020 Health, Safety, and Welfare in Traditional Design Day. While the courses complement each other, attendance at Part I is not required to attend Part II.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will gain a general understanding of the basic code and safety requirements related to cavity brick walls, such as those related to joint size, brick ties, corbelling, and the allowable height of brick walls.

2. The course will emphasize how brick is an inherently sustainable material that is good for the environment. Examples of proper detailing, including how various finishes and joint types can protect against the ingress of water will be presented to demonstrate how brick buildings can last for generations, in contrast to buildings with shorter life spans.

3. Participants will learn about brick detailing that is durable and therefore protects both load-bearing and curtain wall designs. Best practices will be presented that extend the longevity of a building and protect its occupants, in contrast to contemporary missteps often found today. Proper detailing, including the safe corbelling of brick, as well as arches that visually and safely transfer loads will be illustrated to support these practices.

4. The course will review how brick buildings can define a unified character of a neighborhood, and contribute to a tangible sense of place by using local materials and details, which can elevate the human experience in their durability, scale, and inventiveness. Urban examples will be presented that reflect desirable places to live thanks in generous part to their use of brick contributing to places that stand the test of time, and are therefore, sustainable.

Please click here for additional AIA Continuing Education Provider Information:

Instructional Delivery Method: Live Online Learning Program

Program Level: Introductory

AIA CES Program Approval Expiration Date: October 25, 2024

Provider Number: G193

Provider Statement: The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art is a registered provider of AIA-approved continuing education under Provider Number G193. All registered AIA CES Providers must comply with the AIA Standards for Continuing Education Programs. Any questions or concerns about this provider or this learning program may be sent to AIA CES ([email protected] or (800) AIA 3837, Option 3).

This learning program is registered with AIA CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

AIA continuing education credit has been reviewed and approved by AIA CES. Learners must complete the entire learning program to receive continuing education credit. AIA continuing education Learning Units earned upon completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members. Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available upon request.


This course will be offered on December 3, 2021 as part of the Health, Safety, and Welfare in Traditional Design day. Course registration is available on the program page here.