31 Mar The History of Breeze Blocks
Breeze blocks have an enriching history dating back to the early 19th century. The building material surged in popularity as architects and landowners discovered more about its use as an architectural element.
Breeze blocks are as functional as they are aesthetically captivating. They protect architectural structures from natural elements, like harsh winds and sun rays, in an appealing way without cutting ventilation. For that reason, breeze blocks became ideal for those living in warmer climates across the southeast and southwest.
The Inspiration Behind Breeze Blocks
The earliest origin in America dates back to the 1930s. Sun-reducing screens that were widely popular in Asia and Brazil inspired its layout and design. The patterned concrete blocks formed a wall that delivered ultimate shade, circulation, and protection, as breeze blocks do.
In 1939, Brazillian engineers played a hand in its continued success at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Renowned architects like Frank Lloyd Wright embraced them. He began incorporating breeze blocks in some of his architecture, solidifying their place at the start of the Mid-Century Modern Design movement.
Architects across the world began integrating breeze blocks into their work. The aesthetic spread as far as the American Embassy in New Delhi, designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1959. It was one of the most prominent architectural projects constructed with breeze blocks, furthering its evolution as a trending design throughout the 70s.
Pattern Blocks Making a Comeback
Although breeze blocks fell out of favor in the latter part of the 20th century, there has been a re-emergence. They can be spotted across multiple residential and commercial projects. The most noteworthy was in Sydney in 2015. The Breeze Block House became an award-winning structure with livable indoor-outdoor spaces.
There’s no limit to how architects can use them in their work. Today breeze blocks are found along the side of hotels, within public gardens, and around parking areas. It has also surfaced as an interior accent to divide spaces without the need for a wall.
Meet Lew Oliver
Designers like Lew Oliver have added to the return with his mid-century modern collection. Oliver is an Atlanta-Based urbanist and master planner with decades of experience advancing New Urbanism and residential design. His innovative designs are crafted beautifully with community values, local vernacular, and climate in mind.
Stone and concrete breeze blocks continue to add elegance and beauty to buildings and homes across the U.S. while enhancing the quality of life for all inhabitants.