Austral Bricks has completed the first delivery of bricks for the Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at University of Technology, Sydney.
The Business School building, due for completion in August 2014, will be Australia’s first building from the renowned architect, and is a centrepiece of the $1 billion City Campus Master Plan - a ten-year design and construction program that will transform both the university and the southern CBD.
Following a tender process with Australia’s most reputable building and construction companies, Austral Bricks won the contract to work with the design team on the distinctive facility, creating a custom made brick range for the building’s unique façade design, which is based on the idea of a tree-house structure.
The building will have two distinct external facades, one composed of undulating brick, referencing the sandstone and the dignity of Sydney’s urban brick heritage, and the other of large, angled sheets of glass to fracture and mirror the image of surrounding buildings.
The final brick design was selected following the creation of 30+ different brick façade prototypes by Austral Bricks across six of its factories in Australia. Five custom-made, buff coloured brick ranges will make up the building’s impressive exterior, with each serving a specific function, and differing from standard brick designs.
Manufactured at the Austral Bricks factory in Bowral, NSW, the bricks are engineered to suit the innovative and complex façade of the building in terms of its curvature and sharp angles. The façade will be built using about 320,000 bricks, all laid by hand on site.
Featuring a form that curves and folds like soft fabric, the east facing façade will be made of a buff coloured brick similar in colour to Sydney sandstone. The brick will be set in horizontal courses and will step or corbel to create the shape. The texture of the surface will be rough and will emphasise the mass of the material. The shape flattens as it wraps around the north and south corners.
The west facing façade, which features ground level entry off Ultimo Road, is composed of large shards of glass façade and will have sculptural brick towers at the northwest and southwest corners.
Austral Bricks Commercial Sales Manager, Mr Tony Pezzano comments that the project is a major milestone for Austral Bricks and will be the next iconic building in Australia, as well as one of the highest profile projects in the world.
Built on the former Dairy Farmers site between the ABC Ultimo Centre and the Powerhouse Museum, the 12-storey building is named after Dr Chau Chak Wing, an Australian-Chinese businessman who donated $20 million for its construction and $5 million for scholarships.
Austral Bricks is part of the Brickworks Building Products Group, which also produces pavers, bricks, roof tiles, facade systems and landscaping products, with its stable of brands including Austral Masonry, Austral Precast, Bristile Roofing, and Auswest Timbers.