Northcot reigns ‘supreme’ at the Brick Awards

  • 25 Feb 2020

Independent brick manufacturer Northcot Brick is celebrating a hat trick of wins at the prestigious Brick Development Association’s (BDA) Brick Awards.

The company bagged the ‘Supreme Award’ for the Dorothy Garrod Building at Newnham College, Cambridge, using a bespoke Newnham Sidgwick handmade blend of bricks.

The project secured two further awards, in the ‘Medium Housing Development’ and ‘Craftmanship’ categories.

This is the third Northcot Brick project to have claimed the coveted top brick industry prize in recent years, following successes for the Newport Street Gallery in 2016 and Manchester’s Whitworth in 2015, both overall ‘Supreme Award’ winners.


Designed by Walters & Cohen Architects, the Dorothy Garrod Building provides new conference facilities, porter’s lodge, student accommodation and social areas, and an impressive new frontage for Cambridge’s oldest and most prestigious women’s college, named after the university’s first female professor.

Much-praised by the BDA judges, this beautifully crafted modern extension sits comfortably amongst the historic college buildings designed by Basil Champneys more than a century earlier, with its distinctive red brick frontage on Sidgwick Avenue echoing the college’s original Queen Anne-style architecture.

The elegant design balances solidity with transparency, with generous glazing alternating with full-height brickwork panels where a ‘hit-and-miss’ element weaves seamlessly into the texture, detail and interest of the elevation.


Hillary Satchwell, head judge, Brick Awards 2019, commented: “The supreme winner, the Dorothy Garrod Building, really impressed the judges who felt it was exceptional in a number of ways.

“It manages to be an exemplary teaching and research space, as well as student housing; it is a strongly urban and welcoming response to the surrounding streets in this part of Cambridge; and at the same time is an amazing work of carefully considered and expressive brick design and craftsmanship. Quite some achievement.”

The detail of the design required high quality materials and highly skilled craftsmanship.  Northcot Brick supplied 165,000 handmade bricks in a bespoke Newnham Sidgwick Blend, which comprised four different types of handmade bricks.

In addition, 12 different handmade special shapes (totalling 92,000) made up the intricate panels of ‘hit-and-miss’ brickwork and various areas of detailing that characterise this outstanding building.

Renowned for their craftsmanship and bespoke brickmaking capabilities, Northcot’s master brickmakers combined their individually hand thrown traditional bricks with highly sophisticated weathering processes in order to achieve unique aesthetic qualities. 

Northcot’s previous two ‘Supreme Award’ winning projects have also been praised for the quality of their bespoke machine-made blends.


Michael Brown, MD of Northcot Brick, commented: “We are proud to be associated with the Dorothy Garrod Building, which is a fine example of the architectural excellence that can be achieved when creative vision is combined with age-old craftsmanship and traditional brickmaking.

“This is the third Northcot project to have received the Brick Development Association’s highest award in the last five years. 

“Such an accolade is a testament not only to the quality and sophistication of our brickmaking, honed over many years, but the enduring importance of brick in modern architecture.”


As a multi award-winning manufacturer, Northcot is associated with many high-profile architectural projects, including Stirling Prize and RIBA National Award winners. 

Northcot Brick is also the major supplier of bricks for the impressive restoration of Battersea Power Station, one of the largest brick-built buildings in Europe.

Founded in 1925 by Sir Winston Churchill’s cousin, Captain E G Spencer-Churchill, Northcot Brick has preserved age-old handmade brick making and firing techniques and employs 60 people at its brickworks in Blockley, Gloucestershire, producing in excess of 12 million bricks per year. 

Northcot Brick has won a British Ceramic Confederation Health and Safety Pledge Award and holds BS EN ISO 14001 certification as part of its commitment to control emissions, improve efficiency and environmental performance.

Click onto the 2019 BDA award video for more information about the award-winning Dorothy Garrod Building. For more information about Northcot Brick, phone 01386 700551 or email [email protected]

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