Creating Brick City

Visits tour Brick City in 1968.

A short walk around the Henrietta campus can reveal why “Brick City” has become the trademark of RIT. In 1969, the nickname was featured in a “Name the Campus” contest in Reporter magazine, although the precise origins of the moniker are unknown.

With 15,710,693 bricks on campus, it’s easy to see how the nickname stuck around.

“There’s certainly an undeniable presence of the brick on campus,” said Jim Yarrington, director of planning and design and university architect. “We view it as a legacy that we need to provide stewardship for, and that has a lot to do with how new buildings are plugged into the campus. They have to relate to the overall as an ensemble.”

The bricks used on campus aren’t the same bricks that can be bought at Lowe’s or Home Depot. The RIT brick is made using a blend of Belden brick developed in the mid-1960s. Made specifically for the Henrietta campus, it’s known as the “RIT Blend.” Every building made of brick on the Henrietta campus is made with the “RIT Blend.”

“I think when you say all the buildings at RIT look the same, it’s like saying all the buildings in Florence, Italy, look the same because all the buildings have a tile roof and are about the same number of stories,” Yarrington said. “When you look a little closer at the style and individuality of each building, you can see they all are different in their own right.”