A specially-created bricks and pavers range from Austral Bricks
is a key design feature in an architectural project at the Ravenswood School for Girls.
The Sir John Sulman Medal for Public Architecture was awarded to BVN Architecture for their work on the Mabel Fidler Building at the Australian Institute of Architects 2012 NSW Architecture Awards held recently at Luna Park.
In addition to supplying Bowral Blue bricks for the base walling at the Mabel Fidler Building, Ravenswood School for Girls, Austral Bricks worked with BVN and ESD Landscape Contractors to develop a new clay paver format that would allow the base walling and adjacent paving to ‘form a continuous landscape out of the same material’.
The lower level walling comprising of an inner skin of 200mm thick reinforced concrete, 45mm polystyrene foam insulation, a 45mm cavity and an outer skin of Bowral Blue dry-pressed bricks, supports the upper level steel framing and roof structure.
The cantilevered top level, housing the Learning Resource Centre is clad in hollow, translucent polycarbonate panels with the translucent glass on the inner face further diffusing the light.
Although the site dates back over a century, much of the campus was built in brick in the second half of the last century. Project architect Knut Menden explains that the Mabel Fidler Building base brickwork acknowledges this heritage. The brickwork theme was also continued with the use of clay pavers, which flow from the exterior into the cafeteria and through to the senior student lounge and staff area.
The designers wanted the walling and paving to be unified in colour and form, requiring the bricks and pavers to be the same colour and length, and set-out to align across both planes.
BVN Architects and ESD Landscape Contractors approached Austral Bricks to design the pavers. Austral Bricks offered to cut bricks in half at the factory and then decided to manufacture a special unit measuring 230mm L x 55mm H x 76mm W.
The pavers are laid on a base of cement-stabilised sand and the 10mm gaps slurry-filled with a grout matched to the mortar colour of the walling. The set-out was controlled by a stringline grid, assisted by the 6m grid used throughout the building. The detail of the pavers ensures a high quality finish suitable for very high pedestrian traffic areas that will absorb a lot of wear and tear.
Austral Bricks now offers the half-brick pavers in a standard product range called the Bowral Bricks Hamlet Collection comprising of three standard colours: Blue (used in the Ravenswood project), Sepia (brown) and Ash (grey). Custom colours are available for larger projects.