MATERIAL PAIRING : Concrete and Wood | Concrete and Brick

Mar 04, 2021

Architects introduce an intense sense of connectivity to the building with dramatic spaces responding to the neighborhood context. The most captivating design language forges a connection along with its material and built environment.

Building materials create and establish a profound impact demonstrating ideal spatial distribution. Several factors influence Material Selection in Architectural Design ( that add character to the building. The most captivating architecture today is the result of flawless material pairing. Some building materials just belong together to form a perfect pairing. This three-part material pairing series with six material combination include the most influential and flawless building materials.

The most popular material pairing is concrete and wood. The two most rudimentary building materials together bring a striking contrast design narrative.


The elemental nature of concrete creates a functional and bold sculptural expression. Wood celebrate imperfection in texture with the marks and scars on the wood grain pattern illustrating a unique story that is raw and true to its use.

Raw concrete grey and warm wood is a combination of engineered and natural building material that hold extraordinary appeal. The horizontal wood grain pattern can gain significant weight over the unfinished concrete that holds geometric lines and holes from the metal ties used during the curing process for the concrete formwork. The subtle graining pattern in the concrete allusion to the warm wood tone, merge different identity in an enclosed space.

R ARCHITECTURE, Melbourne based design studio

How to create a perfect pairing?

A familiar design technique allows spatial interplay by assigning specific material to a particular surface. Designers use this fundamental principle on walls, ceiling, and floor surfaces to create a sequential application. This technique when applied with concrete and wood as a building material create inspiring design.

The ceiling of a space has a large impact on the visual perception which means a small expanse of wood can counterbalance the large mass of concrete finished walls and floors.

For instance, If the ceiling planes are wood, contrast the space with cool grey concrete on the walls. Further, generalize the concept and create all horizontal planes as wood and all vertical planes as concrete. Emphasize more by contrasting concrete finishes with textured and waxed raw concrete.

CONCRETE VILLAGE HOUSE, Cheng design studio, California
CONCRETE VILLAGE HOUSE, Cheng design studio, California

Why does it work?

Concrete and wood pair well together because the character of raw material like concrete is accentuating the space when used near a more tailored material such as wood. And, because grey is a neutral color it complements the tones found in natural wood.

Concrete and Wood may be the most popular pairing, but truly admired material pairings are concrete and brick. The two-building materials that define masonry and load-bearing construction, together represent


The brick facade offers an ideal framework that aesthetically adds simplicity and integrity to the design. The exposed concrete structure displays brutal strength. Together Concrete and brick as building materials defy the beauty of geometry and surface texture.

Unconsciously brick creates a connection to nature, prompted by its red color and texture forge a relationship with mother earth. The brick facade can create a lightweight structure contrary to the concrete frame that methodically builds a balance in paring these two building materials.

BRICK CURTAIN HOUSE, Design work group from India

How to create a perfect pairing?

Almost any form plays well with concrete and brick. Both the materials exhibit natural crinkle and crease that can accentuate movement in space.

The coarse brick bond creates an anchor with the colossal concrete structure. The horizontal coercing concrete frame builds a logic to the stacked bands of exposed brick-built course upon course. And that is how brick walls construction mechanism perform.

The designer can choose different forms of bricklaying pattern paving paths to create a concrete sculptural form.  Textures surfaces of the material can be used to an advantage over machine cut or wire cut bricks to create more shadow and depth evoking aesthetic of brick hues and mass of the concrete.

PIROUETTE HOUSE, Wallmakers from India
Rat trap bond is a brick masonry method of wall construction introduced by Laurie Baker in Kerala, in which bricks are placed in vertical position instead of conventional horizontal position and thus creating a cavity (hollow space) within the wall that increases thermal efficiency and cuts down the number of bricks.
PIROUETTE HOUSE, Wallmakers from India
The Pirouette House features the “Last of the Mohicans” fired bricks as an ode to the stellar practice of Laurie Baker with spaces that are made beautiful by the pure geometry and patterns created by the walls that seem to be coming alive and pirouetting around.

Why does it work?

The fusion of concrete and brick shows alliances almost monastic in nature. Even a hybrid of concrete and brick building can complete and define this material marriage as it creates stunning form and space. Cherished and rated for its sculptural depth and monolithic concrete structure portray as if carved to form a singular block with parametric and waving gestures of brick elevate to a sanctuary.

Read more on how does building materials drive your architectural thinking process?


Anusha Ashok

I believe only art can change the world! Although, I constantly critique the design approach & in dispute with my belief. But usually found having tea & listening to Coldplay.