I had never heard of “Brick Expressionism”. It’s an architectural style used extensively in the 1920’s and 1930’s particularly in Northern European countries, like Denmark and Germany, but also Poland.
Brick Expressionism had the distinction of being outlawed in Germany when the Nazi’s took over. It was considered “degenerate” like the paintings and prints of famous German Expressionist artists.
It’s related to two other forms of architecture from that period, Northern Expressionism and Functionalism. The latter took its name from architect Louis Sullivan’s dictum: “Form follows function.” This meant that architecture (and by extension furniture design) should be simple and purpose built.
Interestingly enough, I lived in Sunnyside Gardens, which was somewhat influenced by Brick Expressionism and Functionalism. The one, two, and three family houses were built for working class homeowners in the late 1920’s. The biggest influence on the houses was the English Garden City Movement, which were planned communities, incorporating green belts.
But the houses were simple, functional, and have interesting decorative patterns in their brick facades. Nothing as elaborate as the best examples of Brick Expressionism, but decorative nevertheless.
Here’s some examples of buildings from Sunnyside Gardens, Germany and Denmark.
Detail of Exterior
The interior of Chilehaus
Chilehaus, located in Hamburg, Germany was designed by Fritz Hoeger and completed in 1924 (and partially restored after World War II). It was owned by a man who had left Germany for Chile and returned later with a fortune. It has 4.8 million bricks!
Lastly, this is a photograph of Grundtvig’s Church in Copenhagen, one of the most famous examples of Brick Expressionism. It took 20 years to build (1920-1940) and three architects: PV Jensen Klint, his son Kaare Klint, and his grandson Esben Klint. An amazing building.