Tuskegee’s Historic Brick

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Figure 1

For brickophiles like me, working at Tuskegee University is as good as it gets. The campus is an outdoor museum  of historic brick, made by hand and by machine by students and faculty between the 1880s and 1910s.

These historic brick present a range of variegated textures and colorations. They index their making – the strike-mark of a trowel, the impression of a mold, the slump of too-soft clay, the kiss-mark of a too-hot kiln. Like us, their imperfections are a source of character and distinctiveness.

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Figure 6

 

To learn more about brick making at the Tuskegee Institute, read my post “Tuskegee Institute and the Politics of Bricolage.”

 

© Donald E. Armstrong and Material Practices, 2013

 

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “Tuskegee’s Historic Brick

  1. Majority of the buildings on Tuskegee’s campus is made with brick. They vary in size, shape, color and orientation. What materials are used in the mortar to hold the bricks together?

  2. If you look closely at some of the bricks on campus you can tell which ones were created first. Is there anything that can be applied to the bricks to keep them from cracking due to age?

  3. From the colors, shapes, and textures, I think each building was definitely unique. They didn’t any template or way to make the bricks the same size or any joint tooling?

  4. I know at the time students and faculty were also making bricks and selling them to the surrounding community to make money. How much did they run individually and in bulk?

  5. From observing these photos you can tell these brick walls have withstand a lot. In Figure 6, compared to the other figures, have much thicker mortar joints. Do you know the reason, if there a reason for this design strategy.

  6. From observing the photos you can conclude these brick walls have withstand a lot. In Figure 6, compared to the other figures, have much thicker mortar joints. Do you know the reason if there is reason behind this design strategy?

  7. The many imperfections the bricks have are what make each building unique. I notice the amount or thickness of the mortar used varies in between the different rows of bricks. I wonder if this is because the bricks were different sizes, and they had to compensate for bricks that were smaller than the ones next to them. What are your thoughts?

  8. I see in the pictures that some bricks are in a lot more worse shape than others. In your opinion, how much longer do you think some of these bricks can last?

  9. trowel lines i think are kind of like the masons signature. personally when ever i am working with concrete i am sure to leave a trowel-made signature of my own. has it occurred to you that maybe sum of these imperfections was a students way of leavinghis mark on this school?

  10. knowing that all the bricks are made from surrounding soil/clay in the area, do the different tints of brick found on the buildings come from the orientation of the building and how much sun is being exposed upon it?

  11. Looking at the bricks you can tell it was created man made by a student. The question is what materials did the students and faculty used back then to created the bricks.

  12. Looking at the bricks you can tell it was created man made by a student. The question is what materials did the students and faculty used back then to created the bricks?

  13. All the buildings on campus have the similar or same method of laying bricks. What’s the reason for not being diverse with the bricks?

  14. Even through the years, after receiving better funding for the school, why not keep the process of brick making in the curriculum as a tradition or a rite of passage for the student?

  15. I agree with you in how character shines above all when looking at the bricks and how they change from building to building. Do you think the addition of the new bricks to these buildings takes away from this character or embellishes the idea even more?

  16. These students most have point many hours in to making these bricks and buildings around campus . how long did it usually take the students to finish a building

  17. How can you tell what has happened in the making of the bricks, or rather the characteristics to look for to distinguish differences?

  18. Each picture shown displays the unique character of the bricks used on the various buildings on campus and it is because of the each bricks unique identity that our campus has its iconic look. However, I am curious as to know for buildings such as Thrasher which need renovation how will historic preservationist keep the exterior character if they need to replace brick which is no longer being manufactured?

  19. Tuskegee University is rich with historical buildings that have historic brick work done by students and faculty. How did the students and faculty learn how to lay bricks using the different bond techniques?

  20. The Tuskegee bricks vary greatly from each other in shape and smoothness because they were made by many different students. Because of this, I would assume that there plenty of bricks that were not of a high enough quality to use in construction. On average, what percentage of the bricks made were rendered unusable?

  21. Most of the older brick buildings on campus have bricks made by students. Can the same be said about some houses in tuskegee’s community?

  22. That’s a very cool fact that all the bricks were made by tuskegee students. As I walk around campus you can see the difference between the older bricks and newer bricks. Is there a way to make the older bricks look newer.

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