You may not know it, but you very likely have seen Breeze Blocks every day. They were particularly popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s and also are known as screen blocks (but have nothing to do with suntan lotion). They are those cinder blocks that have been stacked and designed to create a mosaic or other pattern. Most of the time you have seen them outside as their primary purpose was to allow a breeze into the home area while giving the homeowner a certain degree of privacy. Their use expanded to providing a degree of protection from the sun, making them practical in other countries such as Spain, Brazil, and Australia. Despite their primary functions as aesthetic and cooling units, they are also very sturdy and can support a significant amount of weight. This is why sometimes you will see them stacked very high as exterior walls.
Breeze Blocks are now coming back into vogue as a way to provide the same advantages in the more temperate climates, yet have fallen into disfavor somewhat because of the invention called air conditioning. Why the resurgent trend? One is that they are very inexpensive, costing about $2.50 for a single block. The installation costs are also cheap, which means that you can create a semi-private outdoor space around your pool, patio, or yard and still be able to enjoy the warm summer weather. Speaking of the outdoors, most Breeze Blocks are made from recyclable materials, so they are environmentally friendly.
But architects and designers have moved Breeze Blocks indoors. They offer the same advantages, and are a great alternative to flimsy, fold up partitions and the very inflexible and high maintenance interior wall additions. While they may not be ideal for every room in the house (bathrooms for example), they are so versatile with just a little creativity you will be able to find a use in most rooms of the house.
Basements and rec rooms are two places where everyone in the family likes to spend time. Larger open spaces in these rooms can be partitioned to give everyone the room they need with a degree of privacy. Because they are not completely solid, all the portioned areas can be heated and cooled without adding extra heaters or fans. The design can be decorative or simple depending on the size to be divided.
Existing interior walls can be enhanced through the use of Breeze Blocks. They can be placed strategically in front of existing walls either to give the room a cozier feeling or cover a part of the wall to be used as decorative shelf space or a Breeze Block mantle. Remember that they have significant weight bearing ability, so depending on your need you can actually use them as a cheaper and more practical way to display heavier items.
We have been talking about walls and partitions, but what about an entire building made out of Breeze Blocks? This has already been done, and some of its designs have earned international acclaim. Consider a carport made of screen blocks in place of one of those modern tent-like car shelters that will leave your car hot in the summer. Not only will you get all of the advantages, but you can create a design and style that matches your home and outdoor space.
Gardens are always more organized and maintained better with a garden room close by. Breeze Blocks are the perfect choice for a breathable structure and one that be the perfect match for whatever size and design your garden happens to be. If you have a large enough property, you can create several garden rooms, each with its own unique pattern and purpose.
Did you ever consider a Breeze Block wall to replace your existing fence? You can have the same amount of privacy, or even more, but add a level of security as well as create a design that gives you the exact look to make your property inviting to guests. You can combine iron gates with the wall and take advantage of the weight bearing properties of the material.
What else is possible? It’s up to you! The right designer can make your home a more practical place to live and add a touch of elegance that is reminiscent of the romantic eras of yesterday. Brazil and Spain are famous for their romantic settings and environments, and Breeze Blocks continue to be featured in homes around these countries. They may not be ideal for winter storms in Maine, but for many places around the country and around the world, they are a cheap, versatile, and attractive enhancement to the solid interior walls and spaces that can be beyond aesthetically boring.
Here are some more examples of breeze blocks being integrated on homes: