Brickwork has been the main structural wall material for all building types in many civilisations for thousands of years and in recent centuries has been used extensively as a non-load bearing cladding of framed buildings. For most of its history it has been covered to make it weatherproof, usually with some form of cement or lime based render.
However in the nineteenth century, the advent of the cavity wall and the availability of industrially made bricks of reliable size, shape and colour made face brickwork feasible for all buildings and opened the door to affordable rich design possibilities which were seized upon by architects producing buildings with great verve, richness and delight.
The Modern Movement's ideological commitment to "white cathedrals" and abhorrence of decoration stifled this expression, however, changes in ideology that can be summarised in the term "Post Modernism" have led to a greater acceptance of a richer exploration of form, colour and texture, particularly of walls.
Next section: The Long Tradition