When talking to Koen recently, I learned that brick facades that are so typical for the Netherlands have lost their original function over the last decades. They are no longer an element of the structural construction of houses or quay walls but have been turned into aesthetic elements only. The structural construction – mostly made of steel and concrete – is behind the nice facade, which has no longer its original stabilising function. Does that mean that brick walls as structural elements are outdated and useless?
Not so for Koen. He actually finds brickwork and in particular the joints between the bricks highly interesting. He has been keen to explore, if the joints can be given a new function, when the chance to test it out came with the Urban Innovative Action initiative (UIA) and its GreenQuays project. Asked if he could join the project and provide his knowledge, he got very excited about the opportunity to bring research results to real life. The question was, if GreenQuays wants to go for green and nature-inclusive quay walls, what kind of construction needs to be underneath – what kind of bricks, mortar, and construction patterns?