Team 1 – BRICK BIOTOPE (Moulding)

Micaela Nardella (Italy)
Oana Tudose (Romania)

Brick Biotope is a set of brick typologies designed as a natural living environment for birds. It addresses the disappearance of the House Sparrow in the Netherlands and the need for nature to reclaim the built environment. The design is contextualised in traditional red brick façades synonymous with traditional Dutch architecture.

The House Sparrow often finds shelter in wall cracks. Brick Biotope considers this natural phenomenon, creating a bird-friendly brick that can be applied to a standard brick wall. The design allows plants and wildlife to coexist with architecture, forming unexpected life patterns. In addition, incorporating Brick Biotope into walls creates an alternative reading to standard masonry wall construction.

The materials and fabrication process for Brick Biotope are motivated by the practice of using natural resources, such as sand and soil, to shape the built environment. Sand is traditionally used in sand-cast moulding techniques, however the project’s research explored the potential of utilising the malleability of the material. The sand, acting as a moulding agent, is poured together with plaster and removed by hand after solidification. The shapes form unique profiles defined by voids and layers of plaster, creating useful programmable shapes within a standard brick mould.

Brick Biotope incorporates the four necessary factors for a living environment to become a wild animal’s habitat: space, food, shelter and water accessibility. These factors are all present in the set of brick typologies— water, nesting and feeding— each form changing based on the function it encompasses. They work together to create new habitats for the House Sparrow.