Case Study House 1
Articles, Engineering, Projects

Case Study: HOUSE 1

To create a Brisbane home that echoes traditional Queenslanders, architect Salvador Farrajota saw the incredible potential in masonry blocks.
POSTED
08.01.2021

A young Brisbane architect has used masonry blocks to create a stylish, functional and climate-friendly residence in the city’s south.

Salvador Farrajota, director of The Artificial, says GB Masonry collection blocks were the obvious choice for his first residential commission: House 1 in Tarragindi.

“The client wanted something really sturdy,” Farrajota says. “I’d seen a few houses around Brisbane where GB Masonry blocks had been used so I wanted to try them out myself.”

House 1, which sits on a terraced block, features a heavy base constructed of exposed grey and porcelain blocks topped with a timber and tin construction on the upper level.

The architect chose GB Masonry Honed in Porcelain for both the interior and exterior walls of the soaring two-storey building to provide the sparkling modern look he wanted.

“I really like the porcelain finish, which takes the Honed look to another level,” he says. 

“It looks really clean and sophisticated – and at the same time it’s still structural material.”

The GB Masonry collection is available in a wide range of sizes, finishes and colours. Honed blocks have been carefully ground to provide a matte exposed aggregate finish. Available colours include Porcelain, Nickel, Pewter, Limestone and Pebble.

The architect was particularly impressed by the high quality of the blocks and their strength and durability.

“I like to build things that last,” he says.

To provide an individual finish at the Tarragindi house, the blocks were laid creatively to form interesting patterns; blocks of different sizes were also used.

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“Additional attention was given to the particular set-out of the blockwork, particularly internally where the exposed porcelain block wall continues from the entry breezeway,” he says.

“Externally, the contrast of exposed grey block occasionally meets porcelain block, producing a harmonious aesthetic.”

While GB Masonry blocks have been around for a long time, Farrajota was particularly impressed by their thermal qualities – a major consideration when building in a sub-tropical climate.

“Aesthetically, there’s a link to the old Queenslanders through the use of lightweight materials and a pitched roof,” he says. “But this building is completely open-plan, with breezeways, lots of windows and big overhangs.”

Although the elegant Tarragindi house has air-conditioning, it’s rarely been used because the building is naturally cooled thanks to the breezeways, while the structural materials provide solar protection in summer.

“The good thing about core-filled block work is that it’s a highly insulated material,” says the architect. 

In keeping with its sustainable ethos, House 1 is also equipped with a 22KL water tank under the driveway, while a 5kw solar array and Tesla Powerwall supplies most of the electricity.

Farrajota was so impressed with the GB Masonry collection that he’s used it on a second Brisbane residential project – with an equally great outcome.

“I’m a big fan of the traditional exposed grey blocks,” he says. “But the GB Masonry Honed series provides some nice options when you are looking for something to use internally.”

“Additional attention was given to the particular set-out of the blockwork, particularly internally where the exposed porcelain block wall continues from the entry breezeway.”

Salvador Farrajota
Architect, The Artificial
Case Study House 1

“Additional attention was given to the particular set-out of the blockwork, particularly internally where the exposed porcelain block wall continues from the entry breezeway.”

Salvador Farrajota
Architect, The Artificial
GB Masonry Honed in Porcelain
GB Honed – Porcelain
Austral Masonry
  • Concrete masonry blocks have long been the work-horse of the construction industry. Austral Masonry block come in a range of colours, style and finishes to suit any building project.
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