Can brick levitate?

The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University makes one wonder. Eschewing conventional masonry design themes where materials with physical or implied weightiness are concentrated at the base of the structure, the design for the Moody Center by Michael Maltzan Architecture lifts brick upward and even cantilevers it horizontally, making the brick appear to float.

Brick clad upper stories extend to shade the walkways below, adjacent to ground level glass walls, stretching to connect two dramatic design elements at opposite ends of the structure. A screen wall of brick hovers with apparent weightlessness over an outdoor courtyard in one direction, while a teardrop-shaped penetration in the masonry a full story in height further emphasizes a feeling of lightness and openness that counters the nearly-black brick.

Manganese IS Norman Smooth brick from Endicott Clay Products was selected for the project, along with a mortar pigmented to match. The brick was supplied by Upchurch Kimbrough from Houston, Texas. For a full description of the project from the designer, click here.