The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has awarded the 2020 Brick in Architecture Awards, the nation’s premier design competition featuring clay brick.

From 120 entries, 41 global winners featured in this video span the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Germany with eight Best in Class winners.

An Australian project captured the competition’s first Craftsmanship Award recognizing an individual or team of masons with artful or unique brick installation.

“These exceptional projects show there’s virtually no limit to brick as a leading element of sustainable design,” said Ray Leonhard, BIA’s President and CEO.

The 2020 Best in Class winners include:


Residential – Single Family

High Park Residence

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Architect: Batay-Csorba Architects

Manufacturer: Glen-Gery Corporation

Brick Distributor: Mason’s Masonry Supply, Ltd.


Project Description from the firm:

The design of the Pacific project is born from the homeowners’ values and traditions where the comforts of their past are now viscerally felt within their present day lives. The vault, in its many permutations, is one of the most common archetypes of ancient Roman architecture, characterized by its powerful modulation of light and its sense of lightness. In adopting this typology into a domestic space, we evolved the vault from its primary form, puncturing, cutting and peeling it into new geometries that help to distribute light and air into key locations, respond to program organization, demarcating each with a different atmosphere, and create a sectional continuity throughout the house.

The vault geometry extends the length of the lot, informing a relationship between the façade and the interior. From the exterior, the brick vault is a subtraction from the otherwise monolithic brick frontage. This monolithic façade is created through a focus on the rich materiality of the brick coursing, and the isolated dormer which mirrors the proportions of the neighbouring house.

The brickwork that covers the façade and wraps the ceiling and walls of the carport plays into Toronto’s history of masonry detailing. The tradition of brick in Toronto’s residential fabric dates back to the 19th century when Toronto’s stock of Victorian houses were built. In these houses, ornamental detail presents itself in single isolated moments of brick coursing located above apertures, along corners and at cornices. We took this singular moment of ornamentation and blew it up. The front of the home is reduced to a monolithic façade – where a single repetitive material ornamentation, an adaptation of the Flemish-bond, become an even but textured brick field placing emphasis on the vaulted profile.

This field of patterning emphasizes a play of light and shadow and picks up on seasonal changes. In the summer, the protrusions texture the façade with stark shadows, and in the winter the texture transforms through bricks creating shelves for snow to fall on.

As a retired couple intending to age in place, it was essential that they had access to parking on site. Wanting to refrain from the suburban folly of a garage-fronted streets, the decision to create a carport shaped the formal organization of the entire project. The integrated carport carves the front façade, creating a processional entryway reminiscent of the portico; an architectural feature found in roman architecture which covers and extends from the entrance often as a vault or colonnade.

Vaulted porches are also a prevalent form in Toronto’s Victorian housing stock. Toronto’s residential streets are often punctuated by front porches (rather than garages) to create a transitional space between the street and the home. In the case of High Park Residence, the carved carport creates an inverted porch, which creates an introverted presence on the street. A lightwell which cuts through the height of the building is placed at the depth of the carport, washing the deep space with light, pulling visitors towards the entry.

This armoured space is turned inward and perceived as private, creating an intimate entry procession. To emphasize the project’s geometric simplicity, all circulation, services, and entry conditions are tucked into a linear bar which runs adjacent the vault. Upon entering the house, visitors begin in a compressed service ‘bar’, which then opens into the ground floor’s expansive and airy living spaces. Throughout the length of the ground floor, the barrel vault’s persistent geometry connects these living spaces, accentuating the client’s desire for connectivity in food preparation, eating and socializing.

While the barrel vault brings these spaces together, moments of articulation and relief are found through tangential peels and cuts in the vaulted ceiling. The vault remains intact at the dining room, is cut at the length of the kitchen, becomes intact again at the living room, and then unfolds and peels into the backyard. This spatially delineates connected spaces, while also providing natural light to flood into the deep and narrow lot. Situated in the middle of a long floor plan, the kitchen opens and is flooded with natural light from a skylight above.


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Residential – Multifamily

1720 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Architect: CannoDesign

Manufacturer: Palmetto Brick Company

Brick Distributor: Diener Brick Company



United States Land Port of Entry

Columbus, New Mexico

Architect: Richter Architects

Brick Manufacturer: Summit Brick Company


Educational (Higher Education)

University of Kansas Medical Center Health Education Building

Kansas City, Kansas

Architect: CO Architects

Brick Manufacturer: Sioux City Brick (subsidiary of Glen-Gery)


Educational (K-12)

Taft Freshman Academy

Chicago, Illinois

Architect: STL Architects

Brick Manufacturer: Interstate Brick


Historic Renovation

University of Notre Dame’s Main Building

South Bend, Indiana

Architect: University of Notre Dame

Brick Manufacturer: The Belden Brick Company

Brick Distributor: Rose Brick

Renovation Specialist: Masonry Cosmetics, Inc.


International (also the Craftsmanship Winner)

Midland Campus, Curtin University

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Architect: Silver Thomas Hanley Architecture / Lyons Architecture

Brick Manufacturer: Austral Bricks


Paving & Landscaping

First Responders Park

Westerville, Ohio

Architect: POD Design

Brick Manufacturer: The Belden Brick Company

Brick Distributor: Hamilton Parker Company


Craftmanship Award Winner

Midland Campus, Curtin University

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Architect: Silver Thomas Hanley Architecture / Lyons Architecture

Mason Contractor: PWD Construction

Brick Manufacturer: Austral Bricks


The 2020 judges include Chad Christie, AIA, LEED®, BD+C, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC; Mary Demro, A&E Design; Emily Ray, AIA, Wheeler Kearns Architects and Grant Thome, AIA, Legacy LEED® AP, Hollis + Miller Architects.


See BIA’s list of all winners and Photo Gallery.