Brick Courses. Everyone has some understanding of brick as a building material. A wide range of building types, from small to large, residential to commercial, old and new, use brick as a primary structural or ornamental material. A brick course is the design the bricks would be laid in rows (or courses) to cover the entire wall. Historically, brick courses played a vital role in the stabilization of a wall, more notably, different brick courses could help support a wall at a window or door opening. Although there are many different types of brick courses, I thought we could touch on a few today.

Common Brick Courses, from "The Story of Brick"

This illustration from “The Story of Brick” demonstrates some of the common brick courses. A stretcher brick features a brick laid horizontally with its longer edge exposed. A header brick is also laid horizontally with the shorter end exposed. Walls can feature either the stretcher brick as a brick course or header brick as a brick course. Flemish bonds alternate stretcher and header bricks. Other brick courses feature combinations of the stretcher and header bricks. There are several other types of brick courses, including those that feature the brick laid in other patterns.

Our first example is of a running/stretcher bond found on the Ruth Lilly Student Center at Marian University (3200 Cold Spring Road). This reddish brown brick features a unique shape, with thin, long faces. Another example of the running/stretcher bond is found on the building at 126 East Vermont Street. This yellow brick features a standard stretcher bond with limestone accents.

Running/Stretcher Bond, Ruth Lilly Student Center, Marian University (3200 Cold Spring Road)

Running/Stretcher Bond, 126 East Vermont Street

An example of the common bond is found on the historic Lockefield Gardens Apartment (900 Indiana Avenue) buildings. Upon closer examination, you can see the bond illustrated by five courses of stretchers with a sixth course featuring header bricks.

Lockefield Gardens, 900 Indiana Avenue

Our last example takes us to another building on the Marian University campus, the Wheeler-Stokely Mansion. This is a fine example of a Flemish bond, with alternating headers and stretchers in each course.

Flemish Bond, Wheeler-Stokely Mansion, Marian University

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

The structure features a Flemish bond on the exterior brick.

One response to “Building Language: Brick Courses”

  1. P.J. says:

    How’s this: She was as stately and strong as a Flemish bond structure.

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