Bear Gardens

Bricks 121241, 121045


One of the last buildings to be renovated in Globe Theatre area of the South Bank was the building at 1 Bear Gardens. SPPARC Architecture needed to find a brick that would best match the existing building which was constructed in the mid 1800’s. We needed to match the colour, texture and size as some of the bricks on the new building would line up with the bricks on the existing.

This was a sensitive site and needed something special.

Choosing the bricks

Through discussion and negotiation with Smeed Dean works, we were able to produce a Handmade Imperial version of their ever popular London Stock. The clay was taken from the factory in Kent to the hand-making plant in Surrey, where a team of hand-makers threw the 80,000 bricks required for the project. The ‘green’ unfired bricks were then packaged and returned to Kent so they could be fired on the original kilns that produce the Smeed Dean bricks.

The result

The resulting product is a beautiful rich yellow handmade Imperial London Stock brick that looks fantastic against backdrop of original buildings.

We also had to source Imperial Handmade Red and Blue bricks to produce arches and a plinth detail. The red brick arches were all cut and pre-cast into lintels with brick faced soffits and a band of red brick to pull the arches together.

The resulting building is one of two parts. The elevations that front onto Bear Gardens and Rose Alley are timeless warehouse style and look as though it has always been there. The surprise comes when you look up and see the contemporary glass structure that sits on top of the warehouse and provides more facilities for the Globe theatre.

This is the perfect combination of old and new architecture and is a worthy contender for the Brick Awards next year.

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