Baptcare Brookview is a new aged care facility in Westmeadows, Victoria. Developed on a greenfield site, it forms part of the urban redevelopment in Westmeadows and is situated on the border between residential property and undeveloped land. Responding to this partial residential context, CHT Architects designed the building with a gable roof and patterned brick exterior that breaks down the scale of the building. “We wanted to create a visually layered, contemporary façade that sat as an object in the landscape as a contrast of two colours. From afar it creates a sculptural element. When viewed up close the building reveals the finer detail of the brickwork,” says David Carabott, Director of CHT Architects.
Baptcare Brookview is designed to be welcoming and comforting for residents, visiting family and friends, and operationally functional for the client. It provides ninety resident rooms with associated amenities, as well as large communal spaces for a variety of programs, activities, classes, and events for residents. To fit with the existing slope of site, the building is two storeys at the northern end, deepening to three storeys at the southern end, and most of the bedrooms have views of landscaped courtyards or neighbouring undeveloped land.
Drawing from the surrounding residential architecture, the roof is inspired by the traditional gable and has a series of pitched forms that undulate from one end of the building to the other. The windows are proportionate to the adjacent houses, and the use of brick also relates to the red and white brick houses around the building, although the intricate pattern and colour gives it a contemporary look that stands out in the area.
“The building materials were extremely important in achieving planning approval for the development as they are reflecting of the residential context of the site. Brick was an obvious choice, however we wanted to push the boundaries for its use and create a visually complex and intriguing building façade,” David explains.“The brick is a material that connects with residential architecture and also provides for low ongoing maintenance, which was an important consideration as the client holds and operates the building.”
The exterior façade is a combination of four different coloured bricks used to create various gradient effects. Deep-black Gaudi is at one end of the spectrum, and bright-white Miro at the other. Both are from Austral Bricks’ La Paloma range, which offers bricks that are darker and lighter, respectively, than standard colour. A brown and grey brick mediates the black and white. “We selected the La Paloma range of bricks as they are a sophisticated style of brick, one that connotates Europe and high-end luxury. Given the complexity of the design, it was important that all the brick ranges had the same proportions,” says David.
In addition to the varying colours, the design of the brick façade incorporates several patterns. The long sides of the building have a scattered pattern that progressively lightens from darker-coloured bricks at the bottom to solid white at the top. This anchors the building to the ground, while also giving it a sense of lightness and approachability. Around the sides and internal elevations of the building, the pattern is more structured with horizontal bands of black, brown, and grey bricks closer to ground level, and large expanses of white with single lines of brown bricks closer to the roof form. A third pattern is similarly structured but with a broken pattern emerging in the configuration of black bricks. “This abstract patterning of the brick adds depth and interest to the building,” says David.
The execution of the façade is even more complex with different coloured mortar adding a micro level of detailing and creating another layer of subtle bands throughout. The variety of these brick patterns can also be seen and enjoyed from inside the facility, providing a light and abstract backdrop to communal spaces and resident rooms.
The traditional stretcher-bond brickwork is a response to the residential context of the building and unifies the variety and intricacy of the façades. “It was a bold decision to work with several different brick ranges and colours, and it was brought together by utilising one laying pattern throughout,” says David.
Once CHT Architects developed the initial concept for the brickwork, the architecture team consulted with Brickworks Building products, regarding the schematic design and development,to ensure the most appropriate bricks were selected that would work together at a micro and macro level.
“The building responds to its neighbours however it clearly stands alone when it comes to its aesthetics in providing a contemporary appearance in an otherwise largely traditional surrounding,” David says.
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