Bespoke Brickwork Solutions Meet Aesthetic Demands of Stunning Capital Development


Borough Yards, which also includes five new buildings, as well as mixed business and cultural facilities, such as a cinema, art gallery and offices, neighbours a landmark for the capital’s food and drink enthusiasts, Borough Market.

For the new development’s complex prefabricated brickwork elements, IG Masonry Support, working in conjunction with brickwork contractor Lesterose, designed and supplied a solution in the form of its prefabricated product range that included Welded Masonry Support (WMS), Brick Slip Masonry Support and its industry-renowned B.O.S.S.+ (Brick on Soffit System).

Built by Wates Group for developer MARK and designed by London-based architect SPPARC, Borough Yards is an area that resonates with the blended work/play lives of modern urbanites.

SPPARC created an architectural typology, which started from the principle that there should be pedestrian lanes within the block linking the river to Borough Market through a series of connecting yard spaces and streets weaved through an impressive Victorian brick, arched railway viaduct.

The challenge

In this landmark conservation area, the brickwork for the new buildings needed to complement the repurposed viaducts and warehouses’ existing brickwork whilst presenting a unique character.

To meet these challenging design requirements, IG Masonry Support manufactured and supplied a range of prefabricated components that met the wider considerations around planning in this conservation area and all Fire and Building Regulations.

As part of the complex design for building four, the architect and design team required a bespoke ‘floating’ brick feature presenting a jagged design. The use of IG Masonry Support’s brick slips helped achieve the distinctive angled soffit design, offering a flawless and historic aesthetic in a modern, easy-to-install solution.

The distinctive spearheads featured on building two were a separate challenge, but thanks to close collaboration with the contractors and architect, it enabled an accurate and sufficient design. Installed over the building’s four level points, these innovative, never-seen-before spearheads were manufactured with glass-reinforced concrete in between.

Customisable to the architect’s design wishes, the Brick Slip Systems and Masonry Support are prefabricated units manufactured off site and delivered complete with bricks mechanically fixed and bonded to them. Weight and size enabled the spearheads to be installed as one unit directly from a scaffold on site.

Due to the type of brick being used on buildings two, three and four being of weaker composition, it necessitated pre-pointing the brick slips in dry, controlled conditions to create a high-quality, finished surface.

Trevor Morriss, Principal at SPPARC, explained: “The use of masonry to realise our vision was a fundamental part of our design ethos. It was essential that the new buildings successfully cohabited with the heritage fabric. We wanted to ensure that each of the buildings had its own unique character whilst also harmonising with the surrounding area. Working with IG Masonry Support and their range of products allowed us to realise these features. The detailing around the masonry is the fundamental part of this scheme. We found their technical advice and can-do attitude essential to realising our ultimate vision.”

The solution

Building one
Featuring the luxury EVERYMAN cinema, this building required Welded Masonry Support and B.O.S.S.+ (Brick on Soffit System) for the head of each window situated at the building’s level. This achieved a floating brick effect, blending seamlessly with the surrounding traditional brickwork with an easy-to-install solution.

Building two
This proved a particular challenge due to the distance between the point of brickwork and the primary structure. Significant design time and client liaison were required to create and engineer a cantilevered solution that featured on the building’s four levels. Known as the ‘Spearheads’, each comprised IG Masonry Support’s B.O.S.S.+, which was designed and bolted to its Welded Masonry Support system. Also requiring a solution was the standout cantilevered brick soffit at the front of the building. These high-quality, bespoke prefabricated systems offered a 70% weight saving against an equivalent concrete product, negating the need for mechanical handling and onsite labour. These benefits proved particularly significant in this mixed-use development.

Building three
This was the first and smallest building in this development. It featured B.O.S.S.+ bracketry to support the soffits and fix back to the structural steel frame. Brick Slip Sills also formed the external brick facade, thus negating the need to build traditional brickwork walls. From street to roof level, the building features new interventions utilising brick construction to reference the site’s historic architecture. Being the first building undertaken by IG Masonry Support on the development, a lot of product development was completed, providing a solid foothold for the design and engineering required for the rest of the buildings. The solutions developed for this building were ultimately scaled up to feature in building two.

Building four
Featuring a complex structural steel frame, thorough technical collaboration was required to design and engineer the jagged design features, which were achieved with Brick Slip Masonry Support. This ensured a solution that met the architect’s specific requirements.

Due to the complex steel frame, there were many junctions and bolt connections. As a result, Brick Slip Masonry Support Systems were designed and engineered with two courses of brickwork, which easily bolted together and blended seamlessly with the surrounding brickwork.

Carl Vulgar, Project Manager at Lesterose, said: “IG Masonry Support designed, manufactured and delivered products on site to the highest of standards, offering solutions to the most technical design ideas and working collaboratively to ensure expectations were not only met but exceeded.”

Borough Yards is proof of innovative design and products being put to exemplary use to reinvigorate long-standing, long-neglected infrastructure. Since its opening in spring 2022, the development has quickly established itself as a visitor experience par excellence, fully living up to the architect’s vision for a mixed-use site comprising “beautiful, raw-brick, cathedral-scale spaces”. IG Masonry Support’s bespoke brick solutions were essential to making good that vision.

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