A Brick for Venice

Research, Feature design, Materials

A research project to design, prototype and test a new low-carbon brick, made using the silt that is dredged from the Venice canals.

Isola delle Tresse

Local Works Studio were asked to develop a new brick by the architects Urban Radicals and the Structural Engineers AKT II. The brick was used to build a temporary Pavillon as part of the European Cultural Centre’s ‘Time Space Existence’ programme during the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Waste silt on the Isola delle Tresse

The canals of Venice are frequently dredged to remove large quantities of silt that build-up over time. This material has been used to form a new, uninhabited island in the Venice lagoon – Isola delle Tresse.

Initial material design

Silt material was collected from the island, analysed, mixed with other local waste aggregates and prototyped as a new brick. The bricks were made using a hydraulic press, and were not fired in a kiln.

Test bricks
Test bricks
Test bricks

Our material design and making techniques were replicated by brick-makers in Venice to fabricate the bricks for the Pavilion, designed by Urban Radicals and AKT II.

Pavilion in Venice

Architects: Urban Radicals

Material design, prototyping and testing: Local Works Studio

Structural Engineer: AKT II

Client: European Cultural Centre, Tyrens foundation

Featured in: Archdaily, Design Museum (How to Build a Low-Carbon Home exhibition July 2023), Time Space Existence 2023, Domus, Monocle, Dezeen Sustainability award Longlist 2023.