Tilt-up concrete panels may be de riguer for commercial projects in Australia at the moment, but that’s not to say everyone is using them.

There are many impressive examples whereby designers are returning to the old darling of building construction in Australia—brick veneer.

Here are three recently completed projects, all of which competed on the Australian Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Awards stage in 2014:

Love Building - North Melbourne, VIC, by CHT Architects

The Love Building’s 21 apartments are delivered over four storeys of brick and mortar – materials that the architects say provides residential detail on a large scale.

“The development’s innovative use of brickwork, traditionally a residential material, overcomes the challenges involved with designing a medium-rise building, in a mixed-use precinct, and incorporating the finer grain of detail associated with residential architecture,” said the architects.

“Ordinary house bricks, of varying colours and set in a pattern, maximise the building’s visual appeal. The project is testament to the idea that high-end materials are not always necessary in the creation of well resolved, visually interesting buildings.”

The architects says the building pays homage to the local Victorian architecture—such as the red-brick warehouses of North Melbourne, as well as its neighbouring industrial buildings which show a more rational use of brick.

“It also takes cues from ‘brick expressionism’ – whereby facades are enlivened through decorative brickwork – and the use of text in architecture: the main facade’s balconies and canopies form the letters ‘L-O-V-E’.”

Brick Manufacturer: Boral

UNSW Kensington Colleges – Sydney, NSW, by Bates Smart







The redevelopment of the Kensington Colleges consists of three traditional colleges, two new colleges and a university teaching space.Each college is defined by a 5-6 storey linear volume and finished in either of two types of brick, chosen by the architects.

“Courtyards are framed by facetted walls of glazed brickwork which present a playful expression of colour, texture, light and shade. In contrast, and in response to the mid-century brickwork of the surrounding buildings, the rectilinear external facades use a blend of three shades of face brick as a contemporary interpretation of the original clinker brick,” said the architects.

Bricks: Austral

  • Bowral Purpose Made and Dry Pressed clays bricks
  • Austral Smooth, Glazed and High-Gloss clay bricks

Washington Park, Meridian & Monte - Riverwood, NSW,  by Turner architects

10 buildings, consisting of 450 Market Apartments and150 Social Housing Units have replaced the old American Radburn style social houses on the 40,000sqm site.

The project has a strong brick theme that runs through the whole development.

The base of the Meridian and Monte buildings are a dark painted render with stone detail.  On top of this sits a section of face bricks with painted bands. The top section is painted white in contrast.

“A further palette of detail colour throughout gives a fine grain layer to the development, tying into the overall thematic idea of natural seasonality,” said the architects.

Brick manufacturer: Austral Bricks

Images courtesy AIA