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Forthcoming from Phaidon, Brick examines the historical and contemporary applications of the world’s oldest man-made material. Authored by designer William Hall, the book includes his introduction and descriptions alongside 180 full-color photographs and a foreword by the art historian Dan Cruickshank. The 224-page volume is Hall’s second work and the natural progression from Concrete, published by Phaidon in 2012.

In his essay “The First Cities,” Cruickshank lays the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of brick’s role in architecture. He explains that, as early as 4,600 years ago, brick was used to build Uruk in Mesopotamia as well as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro of the Indus Valley. The craftsmen of these ancient metropolises dried bricks in the sun and fired them in kilns, transforming mud into blocks of great color, texture, and strength. The resulting architecture stood a chance of lasting for centuries, and, today, several archaic buildings can still be seen, though often eroded, still standing.

Hall then shows readers the many possibilities of brickwork in the following eight chapters. Examining subjects such as “Form” and “Light,” he provides an annotated visual guide to brick buildings and detailing across the globe. Hall covers a diverse range of functions and aesthetics as well as time periods. His illustrated examples include everything from 11th-century temples to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Houses. The pictures make Brick a handsome addition to one’s library, as well as an educational and inspiring read. Find Brick in bookstores and online starting on April 6, 2015. $50 buy here.

(Photography courtesy of Christian Richters, Infraserv Höchst / Klaus Peter Hoppe, Alamy, and Adrien Lo)

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