Tate Modern

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, / Herzog & de Meuron, Tate Modern, London 1960/2000


Bricks were used to make the first great works of architecture. The oldest known mud bricks date back to 7,500 BC and were found in Turkey.

Bricks can be made of mud and dried in the sun, or they can be fired in a kiln (baked in an oven for clay). Today bricks are made by mixing clay, sand and lime. The mixture is poured into brick moulds and left to set. Once removed from the mould, they are stacked up to dry. The bricks are then fired in a kiln at a temperature of 1100 degrees C until they are burnt and hard as rock. When they are cool, the bricks are ready to use.

To make a brick wall, you need to join the bricks together with mortar - a special mixture made with cement. Brick walls are very strong and able to hold very heavy weights. Bricks are affordable, long lasting, and resistant to fire and weather – making them a popular material for buildings.