The thin brick inlay system from Robertson Facade Systems helped address the construction challenges involved in the transformation of a heritage-listed building in Richmond into a modern mixed-use development.

Dimmeys is a well-known historic building, which originally began life as a textile store in 1878, evolving into a quality goods store during the Depression era and, most recently, as a prominent bargain store. The redevelopment project, designed by Armsby Architects, involved transforming the iconic building into a modern structure without impacting its heritage fabric while still reflecting the growing vibrancy of its location.

Now known as Richmond Icon, its clever design came with quite a lot of challenges. Heritage Victoria supervised the preservation of key elements of the building’s exterior, where John Armsby had created a new two-storey western brick facade, similar to the existing facades to the east and north of the structure. The choice of brick and the historic style in which the brick arches and columns were recreated, were critical elements in the execution of the facade.

From a practical point of view, the tight and busy street location presented many logistical difficulties for the builder, Crema Constructions in minimising disruptions to the surrounding area. Speed of construction, therefore, became an important requirement.

Robertson’s Facade Systems was able to address all of these challenges with their thin brick inlay system for precast concrete panels. Working closely with Cambar Precast, Robertson’s Facade Systems supplied Pressed Red smooth brick facing tiles in a custom made arch brick bond pattern to replicate the arches and columns of the historic building. 

The unique brick elements were created offsite and positioned quickly and efficiently in concrete precast panels. This technique not only allowed the panels to carry the load but also provided the genuine clay brick facades sought by Armsby Architects. Since each panel was identical, there were no issues with the alignment of the brick bond.

Thanks to the thin brick inlay system from Robertson’s Facade Systems, Armsby Architects was able to achieve remarkable design outcomes for the building’s facade.