Thursday, June 8, 2017

Brick Walls with Stories

The architecture of Amana is quite unique as you look at the brick,
sandstone walls, foundations, chimneys and rabbats. Early masters of the methods and materials used in Amana looked to local resources especially in these rural areas. The quality and texture of the clay, sands, limestone and fires in the kilns all factored in for a better construction. The look, feel and location of a good clay made a difference in the bricks. Shrinkage and closeness to the heat determined the size of the bricks. Size and weight of bricks were important in construction of exterior and interior walls and chimneys. Often soft bricks were used on interior walls. Color was also an important factor in design to keep architecture color consistent in the Amanas. Before 1760, American  brickmakers tended to use  salmon colored bricks for interiors. The exterior walls were a darker, harder brick and held up well to the elements. Other great characteristics of the brick were the finger or animal paw prints, straw marks, and brick layering marks left behind while bricks were drying in the open drying beds. The mortar, the glue that held the bricks together, was also carefully thought out. Mortar production also occurred near its construction site. Great skill and knowledge of mortar materials and recipes was required for the process of the brick laying. A modified Three-to-One bond pattern method was often used in Amana. Three-six rows the side if the brick, one row of the front of the brick shows, and pattern repeats. Mortar had to be laid evenly to compensate for the irregularly of handmade bricks in order for these buildings to withstand time. These Amana structures are a lasting legacy to the artistry of our early brickmakers.