Ari, a commercial and apartment building in Melbourne, is called an ode to brick according to its designers. Located in the suburb of Hawthorn East, the building is a black and gray reference to a nearby brickworks. It is made up of nine apartments and a ground-floor retail building.
Ola, the architectural studio that built Ari apartments, states that given the site’s location they wanted to experiment with a different kind of facade made possible only through the use of brick. They opted for patterns in which there are occasional gaps between the bricks. This assemblage creates the mood of transparency, while not giving away much of the residents’ privacy. The openings play with natural light across the apartment’s courtyards and internal spaces. All of these elements tastefully experiment with the contrast created by a darker colored building. The studio explains how the building is rooted in the history of the community:
“This ‘ode’ to the brick couples as a contemporary reminder of an important element in Hawthorn’s early industrial history while showcasing how the material continues to be successfully detailed for contemporary architecture in Melbourne.”
The theme of being rooted in history while pointing toward the future is continued with the studio’s choice to include original bricks from the building’s former life as a Victorian shopfront. These are kept close to the eye as they are used to edge the ground floor paths and the courtyard. The builders were also able to salvage a 120-year-old painted advertisement. They altered the design somewhat and used the sign in the courtyard, creating another reference to the layering of history. In this way the building uses it’s brick bulk to represent its presence in space. Additionally, the wide selection of materials lets us know that the building is a hefty presence in time as well.
Ola is based in Abbotsford Victoria in Australia. The studio strives to create “warm and inviting spaces” while using a collaborative design approach to meet the requirements of both their clients and the unique opportunities presented by the site of a project.
Do you love or loathe this contemporary brick architecture? Let us know in the comments.