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.
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.
This wall screening a carport is made from just about the simplest design
imaginable, but entirely appropriate for the clean lines of this home.
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.
block, again used with exposed aggregate brick to add detail to a