Brick Pavers: Enhancing the Traditional Look of the College Campus

Decades after graduation, many former students can still visualize the campus where they attended college. The sights and sounds of a university campus make for heart-warming memories. Whether it was the distant sound of the band practicing for the big game or the iconic buildings and landscape found on the property itself, every university has a unique look and feel that is a powerful part of the traditions of the school.

Due to the constant traffic from thousands of students, the landscaping and outdoor amenities of modern campuses require regular maintenance and are constantly changing.  However, the traditional look and feel of these campuses are consistent. This environment exudes a pleasant nostalgia. 

How?

In many cases, time-honored, traditional construction materials such as brick are used for the new construction of walkways, patios, flower beds, fountains and other outdoor amenities on campus and in other, high –traffic areas.

“The history of using brick for landscape enhancement such as walking paths and other spaces goes back to ancient Rome,” said Britt Stokes of Acme Brick. “There are also many brick structures, such as the streets of the early cities that have existed for centuries and continue to add charm to modern-day architecture. However, the process of making this organic building material has improved over the years and different types of brick have been introduced.”

Not All Brick is Alike

According to this recent article, “Despite outward appearances, not all bricks are alike, nor are they all used for the same purpose. For instance, did you know that bricks used for building vertical structures contain holes? These bricks—face bricks or structural bricks—come in a variety of types, all designed to ensure a structure's sturdiness. Generally, they're used for the construction of homes or walls.

“Bricks are designed to be laid flat or stacked vertically. When building a garden, house or wall, bricks with holes—often referred to as face bricks or structural bricks—are used. When bricks are laid in a bed of mortar, the mortar seeps into the holes and dries, securing the brick into place. This process ensures that the structure is strong and sturdy. Holed bricks are also lighter, easier to transport and faster to lay.”

Landscape architects know that not all brick contain holes. For example, brick pavers, which are both heavier and stronger, are designed to lay flat on the ground.

Clay Pavers Can Withstand the Traffic

The constant use and resulting wear and tear on walkways and other outside amenities of a typical college campus require sturdy construction materials. Many planners have opted to use clay pavers. Solid clay paving brick are hard-fired in computer-controlled kilns at high temperatures to fuse the clay particles for maximum strength. This hard-firing creates rich, natural colors that are impervious to ultraviolet radiation, which often causes artificially colored concrete pavers to fade. Additionally, the clay paver surface is stain-resistant.

When clay pavers are installed in a flexible paving system, their individual strength is further enhanced by a phenomenon known as interlock. In a successful flexible paving installation, loads are distributed evenly through the interaction of pavers, jointing sand, and paving bed. Interlock can be achieved using simple tools, inexpensive bedding materials, readily available equipment, and normal high standards of workmanship.

“In addition to college campuses, these pavers can add a distinctive charm to other areas such as retail malls, public buildings, parks and as a part of residential landscaping surrounding outside kitchen and fire features,” said Stokes of Acme Brick.

Pavers Vs. Concrete for Walkways

Concrete has been used for sidewalks and other high-use areas such as factory floors for generations for many reasons, the most important being its cost. Concrete is cheaper than brick pavers but, as is often the case, this lower price tag lacks the charm and sophistication of brick. Here is a brief comparison from several online sources:

  • Pavers are durable and beautiful. Unlike concrete, pavers add a touch of elegance and tradition to the campus.
  • Concrete cracks – pavers won’t. Unlike pavers, concrete cannot move if the earth shifts. Earthquakes or even great temperature variations can cause concrete to crack. Pavers are designed to move and flex because there is a layer of sand in between each paver.  
  • Pavers are easy to maintain.  You can easily remove dirt and stains from pavers by cleaning with a simple solution.  
  • Replacing concrete is difficult. If a concrete sidewalk or other outside amenity cracks, the entire damaged area must be removed.  With pavers, you can simply replace the single damaged paver.
  • Strength.  Pavers are exceedingly strong and many styles can hold the weight of a truck.  
  • Design flexibility. Pavers come in a rainbow of colors and these can be arranged in an unlimited number of patterns.

Brick Pavers as a Part of Campus Development Campaigns

Honoring ex-students or philanthropists who make financial gifts to the university with special monogrammed pavers has proven to be a simple but effective fundraising strategy. This allows the college to recognize those who make a lasting, personal contribution to any building project. These handsome units are made with the same attention to detail and meet the same specs, as regular paving brick. With simple care, they will last decades.

These monogrammed pavers come in two sizes (8" x 4" and 8" x 8") and in seven different colors. Monograms can be marked by lasers which fuse a colored glass material to the surface, creating a smooth, easy to clean and durable look on all colors of brick. 

For more information on brick pavers for outside college campuses, retail malls, public parks or residential amenities, contact Acme Brick for more information.