When building a new multi-residential and commercial building in the heart of the Sydney suburb of Ashfield, the developers needed to introduce a unique artwork feature that would complement the building and make it stand out. Creating the artwork presented a challenge that required the architect, Susan Teng of H3 Architects, and the builder, Nishank Gopishetty from YTO Construction, to seek a bespoke solution.
The design was a requirement by the local council to create something that represented the area and avoid the appearance of a monolithic, blank brick wall. To meet this brief, the architects designed a tree that incorporates various colours and an interplay of light while also complementing the nearby statue of a miner holding up a gold nugget. To create this design with traditional bricks would be extremely challenging from a logistical and engineering perspective, and the architect wasn’t sure how to achieve the desired look in terms of having some parts of the tree backlit to create interesting texture and light.
During an unrelated meeting with PGH Bricks & Pavers, however, the architect mentioned the challenge. While the design had been created with bricks in mind, it was clear that a bespoke material would be required to make it work in practice.
“We were looking for a product to create the 3D tree artwork and the requirements were that it had to be brick, able to provide depth, and of different shades to create the illusion of shadow. As the artwork had to be applied to a concrete wall, traditional bricks were out of the question,” explained Susan Teng, director, H3 Architects.
It was immediately clear that PGH Bricks & Pavers CORIUM solution would be an ideal solution. The CORIUM system provides the look and feel of brick in a lightweight, easy-to-install format. The bricks simply click into place, which meant that the installers could place each brick in the right position for the tree design, then move the bricks as required until the design was perfect. Then, the team could apply the mortar once the design was in place.
This also meant that the design could be marked up onto the metal rail prior to delivery to site, reducing onsite labour requirements. And, if there had been a brick in the wrong place even after applying the mortar, it would have been easy to simply remove that brick and replace it. The thin profile of the CORIUM bricks meant that the 3D design didn’t encroach on public land, and didn’t put undue stress on the concrete wall.
The next challenge was to find a way to make some of the bricks light up by night and so a perspex brick was developed that could have LED lights placed behind it. These bricks were then placed strategically throughout the design to create more light and shadow while some of the other bricks were painted gold. The overall effect is incredibly striking.
“CORIUM was ultimately the best choice for ease of construction,” says YTO Construction’s Gopishetty. “The art wall has added much more significance to our project and Markham Place looks more outstanding than ever before. We’ve had such positive feedback from the residents and neighbours and everyone really loves how the finished project turned out.”