The ACT for Kids Child and Family Centre of Excellence won the Kevin Borland Masonry Award and the overall Grand Prix prize at the recent 2015 Think Brick Awards.

Designed by architect firm m3architecture and featuring Adbri blocks, the ACT centre was the first non-clay project in the awards’ 10-year history to have won the Grand Prix honour. Australia’s richest design awards also saw the architects presented with a cash prize of $10,000 and tickets to the 2016 Venice Biennale.

Adbri also featured in another award-winning project with the Langtree Mall in Mildura, designed by Hansen Partnership winning the Bruce MacKenzie Landscape Award for its distinctive use of Adbri permeable pavers; this was the second consecutive win for Hansen Partnership using Adbri pavers.

In 2012, the Abused Child Trust (ACT) for Kids received government funding to construct their first dedicated Child and Family Centre of Excellence. Designed to provide best-practice support to thousands of children who have experienced abuse or neglect, and early support to strengthen families at risk, the Centre features a purpose-built therapy space and specialist preschool with indoor and outdoor play areas in addition to a state-of-the-art child safety and development research area. Designed as a concrete block perimeter, the building is sculpted around two stands of trees, one on each side of the therapy spaces.

Architects m3architecture utilised Adbri Besser blocks and bullnose Besser blocks in the visually striking design to create a distinctive aesthetic appeal with the shapes of the bullnose Besser blocks creating depth and noteworthy shadow lines throughout the structure.

Michal Banney of m3architecture explained that the ACT for Kids project looked to the context of Jim Birrell’s late 1960s foundation buildings in off-form concrete and grey face concrete blockwork - simple materials with plasticised forms, which worked to great effect in this project. Bull-nosed Adbri blocks as well as traditional Besser blocks were laid to achieve a double stretcher stack bond, and a double stretcher-stretcher bond. The first pattern was used on the front facade where the unit by unit construction of the building can be felt. The latter was used on the side walls, chasing the contours up the hill. The two courses meet idiosyncratically at the acute corner of the site.

Adbri Masonry Marketing Manager Karl Wood said they were happy m3architecture’s project received due recognition for their inspired design. He observed that the project was a fantastic example of how minimalist building materials such as grey Besser blocks can be utilised to achieve such stunning aesthetics.

Adbri Masonry also collected a Manufacturers Award for the supply of Eco-Trihex permeable pavers in Hansen Partnership’s Langtree Mall project in Mildura, which won the prestigious Bruce MacKenzie Landscape Award. Hansen’s design was inspired by aerial site visits of the Mildura region, with the aerial view of the Murray River being inscribed onto the pavement and winding its way through the mall.

Adbri’s Eco-Trihex permeable pavers have been used around tree pits that provide shade for mall goers and also present an opportunity for water harvesting. Adbri’s Eco-Trihex has been used in a variety of high profile environmentally sustainable projects including Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and Sydney’s Olympic Park Precinct.