The humble brick: It is simultaneously ancient and avant-garde, pedestrian and pioneering. It is universal the world over, but used the world over in ways that are thoroughly local.

To celebrate the versatility of the brick, 200-year-old Austrian manufacturer Wienerberger, the  world’s largest producer of bricks, has once again put out a call for submissions of outstanding examples of modern, innovative brick architecture. Submissions from architects, architecture critics and journalists began to be accepted online starting 7 January and will be accepted through 9 April. The ninth edition of the award will be presented in the early spring of 2020.

The Brick Award is endowed with €5,000 for each of the winners in the categories of Feeling at Home, Living Together, Working Together, Sharing Public Spaces and Building Outside the Box. Building Outside the Box, for instance, is a category embracing innovative concepts and methods of using brick, such as new construction technologies, custom-made brick or new ornamentation. One of them will actually receive €7,000 – that's the endowment for the Grand Prize winner, selected from one of the five awardees. 

The brick is ancient and avant-garde, pedestrian and pioneering

Submitted projects can be newly constructed, refurbished or converted buildings, can include new or reused materials, and must have been completed in 2016 or later. Ceramic products, though not necessarily Wienerberger products, ranging from clay blocks and facing bricks to clay tiles or pavers, must play a significant role in the project.

The brick is a uniquely adaptable material that can be solid or porous or both at the same time. It is both a membrane and an obstacle. It looks both hand-made and industrial. It may be boxy, even clunky, but its irregularities can be exploited to create walls that billow like a textile or cascade like water. Projects that reflected this seemingly infinite potential were part of the Wienerberger Brick Award in 2018 and also in 2016. The 2018 Award drew nearly 600 submissions from more than 50 countries. 

After the submission phase has ended, a panel of journalists and critics will narrow down the number of entries to 50 projects. These projects will be published in a book entitled Brick20 which will be published in the spring of 2020 in conjunction with the award ceremony. Also from those 50, an international jury of architects will select five winners in the single categories, one of whom will then be chosen as the Grand Prize winner.

Submit your project now at brickaward20; submissions are open until 9 April. The official Brick Award ceremony will take place in Vienna in spring 2020.