Pattern Block

It’s hard to say with certainty what the origins of decorative concrete block  were, but it would seem that at least part of the inspiration was Frank Lloyd Wright’s pioneering use “textile block" in his southern California homes of the 1910’s and 20’s.  The various designs that were widely available in the mid-century era were much simpler, but the essence is the same: the use of a utilitarian material to create economical cast blocks for decorative purposes.  Unlike Wright’s solid structural blocks, the type most widely used by modern home builders feature open patterns, appropriate for screen walls,  landscaping and the occasional architectural highlight.

A  The pattern used here as a landscaping screen is an interesting one.  All the blocks in this wall are laid in the same orientation, but could be arranged in different ways for different overall designs.  

B  This wall screening a carport is made from just about the simplest design imaginable, but entirely appropriate for the clean lines of this home.  

C  Here a column of pattern block is flanked by exposed aggregate solid block as an architectural highlight on the façade of an apartment building.  This is a case where four blocks are needed to create the pattern unit.

D  The same block, again used with exposed aggregate brick to add detail to a landscaping wall.