New architectural trends have transformed traditional applications of masonry blockwork in the design of exterior and interior spaces. Recent projects have demonstrated masonry’s ability to produce striking sharp corners and clean silhouettes in their effortless execution of contemporary forms. Australian architects are increasingly working with masonry as a key component of design, using the following trends to achieve a modern aesthetic in residential design. These projects recognise the design potential of masonry in creating striking residential structures. The emerging trends in masonry are an opportunity for architects to experiment in their use of material and add modern flair to their projects.
Definitions of space. Designers are creating distinct spaces using defined masonry walls. The design concept for 2018 Think Brick Award Winner, Kardinya Close Tasmania by HONED ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN, revolves around definitions of space. To provide a sense of structure, masonry is being used to craft intimate spaces and add depth within expansive interiors. The architect has taken a streamlined approach to framing and dividing volume within the home. With blade walls slicing through the dwelling, each space is well-defined by stacked blockwork.
Layered textures. Layering different textures can create an impressive finish both inside and outside the home. A dynamic play between textures is introduced when masonry is used alongside other materials. Different applications of masonry block can emphasise textural quality and transform the overall aesthetic of any project. Masonry blocks are available in an abundance of different finishes, from smooth to weathered and stone-like. Kardinya Close Tasmania’s use of Polished Adbri Masonry blocks in Ivory complements the warmth of the timber details and accentuates the distinct form of the structure.
Exposed material. Modern builds are increasingly championing exposed structural elements. Intentionally raw applications are leaving the material exposed to showcase the craftsmanship of masonry. Sometimes hidden in paint, plasterboard and render, exposed masonry creates a minimal yet modern appeal. Purposefully exposed materials also allow architectural projects to take on an ambiguous character which is open to interpretation. 2017 Think Brick Award High Commendation, Inverdon House by Chloe Naughton, has a simple structure that has left the material exposed, accentuating the quality of masonry craftsmanship and its robust character.
Creating synergy between the exterior and interior. There is a growing trend of utilising masonry to materially link interior and exterior spaces. Designers are increasingly working with masonry to frame exteriors and using bold interior applications of masonry to link indoor and outdoor spaces. This approach to masonry comes to form sleek interiors and clean silhouettes. 2018 Think Brick Awards Winner, Highbury Grove by RITZ&GHOUGASSIAN, has created a threshold between the interior and exterior through its use of masonry. The masonry is run entirely in a stack-bond configuration, filling the interior space with the same sleek aesthetic as its exterior shell.
Expert commentary by Elizabeth McIntyre, CEO of The Concrete Masonry Association Australia.
Concrete Masonry Association of Australia
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