“There are millions of brick buildings in the world,” says REBRICK project coordinator Claus Nielsen of Denmark’s Gamle Mursten. “Every time one of these building is demolished the bricks have the potential to become part of a new building and a new story.
“Bricks can easily last for several centuries, but those found in demolition waste are simply thrown out or, at best, crushed and used as aggregate material for low grade applications such as sub-base and road construction.”
The REBRICK system, now patented by Gamle Mursten, automatically cleans concrete and cement from old bricks. The bricks can then be reused in building construction.
Nielsen says, “By reusing old bricks and transferring their history and applying their character to new buildings, they become tangible examples of the potential that is hidden in demolition debris.”
Project partners have made remarkably rapid progress, with two full-scale brick-cleaning facilities operating in Denmark in less than two years. They now intend to establish additional sites in other countries, including Poland and Germany, where demolition sectors are very active.
The new kiln combines traditional brick building techniques with contemporary equipment. While the walls of most kilns are between 4 and 9 inches thick, the new kiln, nicknamed “Reclaim,” has walls that are 11½ inches thick. This extra girth is provided by an outer layer of hundred-year-old red bricks recovered from a building that was recently torn down. A range of glaze colors was developed in class and applied to this outer layer of bricks, giving the kiln its distinctive multi-colored jacket.
Bricks, more than a century old, were glazed by students to create a colorful and functional exterior wall for the “Reclaim” kiln.