A colourful material palette consisting of brick tiles was used to create a spectacular façade on the new Music, Dance and Drama building at the Officer campus of St Francis Xavier College.

Designed by the award-winning firm of Bellemo & Cat Architects to a challenging brief that called for a substantial building that was instantly recognisable as a creative precinct, the new artistic facility features a discipline-inspired motif on the façade consisting of blue lines representing an amalgamated heartbeat and soundwave.

“The façade uses an interpretation of the soundwave, merged with the heartbeat to represent both sound and movement, as this building will be the generator for both,” Bellemo & Cat explains. Both colour and window openings have created the visually striking motif, which penetrates throughout the entire building.

Notwithstanding the motif’s rather complex design, the façade was brought to life easily with the help of the expert team at Macquarie Precast and the brick inlay system from Robertson Facade Systems.

“It’s a really good system to use. And if you’re systematic about the way you approach it, it’s a time efficient system. A lot of the intensive labour is done offsite. So onsite time is very fast. They put all of those panels up in three days – it was ridiculously quick,” Cat Macleod, co-founder Bellemo & Cat, remarks.

The material palette was selected to blend with the fabric of the existing buildings on the campus, while creating something unique.

“The other building is brick so it’s got a red brick and a red glazed brick, so we thought we need it to be brick to be responsive to that, and we should use the two types of bricks they have used (a non-glazed and a glazed). But we used different colours to make it stand out,” says Macleod.

Following a discussion with Robertson’s Building Products for the brick element, Bellemo & Cat chose Rustic Grey brick tiles, and Dark Blue glazed brick tiles to build the façade.

“The façade has a lot of life to it, and the bricks are really great. I really love the Rustic Grey brick tiles and Dark Blue glazed bricks. But the Rustic Grey ones are just beautiful, they have so much textural depth to them, I’m very impressed. It’s a really good balance to the sharpness of the Dark Blue glazed brick – the soft grey one has lots of textural variation in it and it’s still got that tactile surface – it’s nobbly and textural, just beautiful,” adds Macleod.

Photography: Gallant Lee Photography