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Award-winning craftmanship: an appreciation

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One is prepared for music inside a church, but the new brickwork of Corpus Christi sings to you as you stand outside and gaze at it.

The professional pride felt by the bricklayer in building the in-situ facework arches, setting cornice bricks and other specials both internally and externally and creating a 'Roman' door detail while embracing diaphragm wall construction, shines out of this building. Great care has been taken to space out arch bricks to an equal number either side of the central key bricks.

Notice the parallel mortar joint between arch rings and the sensitive cutting of brick courses, where these intersect the extrados, giving another, near-parallel, semi-circular mortar joint around every arch in this building.

All facework mortar joints were raked-out each day in preparation for a separate pointing operation after completion of the facework. This was worked from the top down using a variety of joint finishes (flush, slightly recessed and struck), with care taken throughout to emphasise brick bonding at internal angles by pointing left and right at these junctions.

A bricklayer never forgets working on a job such as Corpus Christi, where bringing to life the architect's ideas make it a pleasure go to work each day.

Bob Baldwin is president of the Guild of Bricklayers and was a judge for the 2000 Brick Awards, in which Corpus Christi took the Best Craftsmanship Award. The judges were impressed by the consistently high standards maintained in a variety of challenging details throughout the construction.

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