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Column Adriaan Mout - The world of the stone slip

27 January 2021

Cobouw Adriaan Mout 210223 De wereld van de strip1

"The brick of the future is thin, lightweight and durable. This unique façade cladding, which is directly applicable to the high-quality exterior wall insulation systems, allows you to combine high aesthetics with an extremely slim and well-insulated façade construction. This solution offers many advantages over the conventional facing brick".

These promotional advertising words come from a renowned internationally operating façade specialist. The market for mineral stone slips, as we are talking about, is making an unstoppable advance. At the expense of our pre-eminent building material, the brick, baked honestly from clay from our own Dutch rivers.

In the past, the mineral stone slip used to cover caravans, mobile homes and rustic interiors. At first, we thought that this application in the professional market was limited to façade renovations in which sustainability was combined with preservation of the character of the neighborhood. Today, however, we already come across the mineral stone slip in extensive new construction projects by prominent architects in prominent places in our major cities. It seems there is no longer a taboo. Where municipality plans for aesthetic quality still speak of brick, supervisors pay more attention to the picture and the Committees for Urban Quality of all major cities have accepted ‘the new phenomenon’.

And let's be honest, you can do amazing things with it. Complex masonry connections with extreme ‘stone’ sizes of the most expensive Danish ‘bricks’, which you could only dream of in the past. The product is getting better and more difficult to distinguish from ‘real’. When properly designed, you should get close and feel and tap the ‘stone’. If you hear a hollow dry 'tok' in combination with a too great perfection, you can be sure that this is a forgery.

But isn't this an old-fashioned, traditional setup of ‘real’ architects engaged in an rearguard battle? Because what is true nowadays, what is really sustainable, what is meaningful innovation? Does the current time not require a different view on material use? It's nice that that simple unsuspecting stone puts us on the edge. Off to the world of the stone slip?