I'm particularly taken by a submission called BeadBricks by Rizal Muslimin, described as able to facilitate the design of microclimates "in and around buildings" by allowing variable levels of porosity in the facade. BeadBricks could thus allow architects "to modulate the environmental factors including sunshine, wind, thermal mass, and evaporative cooling."
The system, Muslimin explains, consists of "two bricks (A and B) with four basic rules that can generate shape in one, two and three dimensional space." Further, "the bricks are decorated with a pattern that can generate various ornaments by rotating them along its vertical or horizontal axis."
[Image: Constructing with BeadBricks by Rizal Muslimin, courtesy of Brickstainable].
The overall technical winner is also worth checking out: the EcoCeramic Masonry System, a "Recombinant and Multidimensional" molded terracotta brick devised by Kelly Winn and Jason Vollen.
[Image: The EcoCeramic Masonry System by Kelly Winn and Jason Vollen, courtesy of Brickstainable].
As Brickstainable describes it, their brick system "showcases the ability to look at new ceramic-based wall assemblies. Strategies include thermal dynamics, self-shading, moisture reduction, hydroscopic, evaporative, and termite behavior studies."
[Images: The EcoCeramic Masonry System by Kelly Winn and Jason Vollen, courtesy of Brickstainable].
Meanwhile, a related project comes to us from designer Dror Benshetrit, who recently invented his own modular system, called QuaDror. On the other hand, it's not really a "brick"; Fast Company describes it as "a structural joint that looks a little like a sawhorse, but can fold flat, making it both stunningly sturdy, remarkably flexible, and aesthetically pleasing." Check out the video:
The suggested uses for QuaDror "include support trestles for bridges, sound buffer walls for highways, a speedy skeleton for disaster or low-income housing, and quirky public art."
All in all, I would love to see more exploration with all three of these ideas, and I look forward to seeing all of them utilized in projects outside the design studio.