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How going off the grid physically and figuratively produced an award winning project

August 19, 2016

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How does a builder challenge the status quo and transform a neglected wasteland into an award-winning project?

With careful planning and an extraordinary imagination, David Moyle – Managing Director of Ballarat Construction Management (BCM) transformed an abandoned warehouse into a game changing headquarters, redefining what we have come to expect from your average warehouse.

If there was a theme for the BCM project it would well and truly have to be ‘pushing the boundaries’ – not only for taking on an unwanted site but for going against mainstream design and deploying a complex wish list of glazing and concrete. David Moyle had a truly unique vision, and one that has certainly put them on the map.

Moyle joined forces with Architect Alan Cubbon, Director of Crosier Scott & Associates. Together they embarked on creating something that not only broke the mould on traditional design expectations but delivered a functional and meaningful space for staff and clients alike. The warehouse aimed to be both light-filled and transparent, evoking an uplifting spatial experience as well as a technologically advanced workspace that was flexible, cellular and environmentally soothing.

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Cubbon recalls a conversation with Moyle where he stated “This is going to be a monster to build. I don’t know how you’re going to actually build it. Moyle replied ‘Don’t worry. You design it, and we’ll build it.’”

Collaborating with the Viridian team to manufacture their complex yet inspiring glass vision, they set out to create something that was almost deemed impossible, a glass design brief that many suppliers opted out of. The glass façade alone demanded millimetre-fit bespoke panels and a sharp vision early on to bring this blueprint to life.

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It was clear this project was defined by its expert precision and getting things measured and built to the utmost detail. With a series of individual laser-measured window gaps required, Moyle decided to interactively survey the glazing and provide a digital format with accurate dimensions for each window. Ensuring absolute precision specifications were captured.

With a focus on staff as vital as the space itself, Moyle wanted high visibility for team members, including a strategically placed exposed boardroom and a reception area designed to dramatically draw daylight into the room – revealing work in progress and providing a connection to the world at large. The concentration around daylight made possible with frameless wall to ceiling glazing, resulted in a genuine vibe that encourages staff to feel a connection not only to each other but the environment around them.

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“We are committed to the fact that design can stimulate healthy and active habits in the workplace. Glass provides the ability to create a highly permeable building envelope which allows people to connect with and be aware of their environment,” expressed Moyle.

As you can imagine a project of this magnitude doesn’t come without its challenges, with Cubbon stating ‘‘At one stage we were pushing the boundaries too far. It wasn’t hitting the mark because we were trying too hard.”

Knowing limitations was fundamental for the project’s completion. What started out as somewhat over the top concept, then morphed into a simplified form. These challenges however have their rewards, with the project receiving impressive accolades by winning New York’s Architizer A+ 2016 People’s Choice Award for world’s best building façade. Not a small feat.

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It’s one thing to design a project, but seeing it come to life resembling the original architectural vision is a massive achievement, with Cubbon commenting “One very pleasing aspect for me is that the finishing touches on the fixtures and fittings resemble the original architectural vision and entire architectural intent. The ambition to create something unique and which really pushed the boundaries of its craftsmanship is incredibly pleasing.”


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Leading architect pays homage to light in his own personal masterpiece

August 5, 2016

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When architect Craig Rossetti decided to take on the ultimate passion project of designing his own home, he set the bar high. With modernism at the forefront, this home steers away from traditional design. By using unconventional methods for his inspiration including sketches of rubbish and the irregularities of nature – he created an awe-inspiring home.

“Modernism is a fantastic starting point. Then there’s everything around us that is probably the greater inspiration. This is a small house in a big world. It’s about the flow of spaces and a response to all of those influences that exist in the everyday and which you would try to translate efficiently,” Rosetti explained.

Elaborating on his theme of the unconventional and unique, the home’s central focus is around a distinct towering patterned glass wall which was built using Viridian Super Clear. Rosetti uses this as the predominant light source for the home, shaping the way the daylight enters the space.

“The feature window is really critical to the success of this house. I can’t imagine it without it and while there are plenty of other contributing elements in that hierarchy of special moments, that is probably the one that leads the way here,” he said.

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Creating a sense of anticipation was also important for Rosetti. He endeavoured to conceal the remarkable interiors by having the entrance to the house in an anonymous laneway, teasing guests of what’s to come. This allows the light filled spaces to be unveiled in sequence, maintaining the element of surprise.

“When you enter the front door, you enter a tight space and view a blank wall, rather than looking right through the other side of the block. You don’t want to give everything away right at the start,” he explained.

By playing with light and opting to leave negative spaces open, the focus is magically on the pool and garden. The light reflected off the feature window and pool opens out to most of the house, counter balancing the darker interior and decor.

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“The pool is located to the north of the curtain wall so that you then get patterns bouncing off the water onto the interior walls and ceilings,” he said.

When it came to choosing the right glass for his project, Rosetti used clear glass, based on the fact that the design of this home relies solely on the transition between inside and out. With glass being the hero of this home it was important to use a classic glazing system that still held its own in a modern home.

“It’s leading the way with technology that isn’t always highly visible. This framing system had glass taped to the front for precise fit and then adjusted; it was just fantastic. It’s the classic glazing system but it still works like a champion.”

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For more incredible design stories subscribe to our Vision magazine now: http://bit.ly/1UJfGpx

Shining a light on the most valuable home asset

July 6, 2016

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There’s nothing like feeling the sun on your face, and right now – during the freezing grip of winter – many Australians are going on holiday in search of that. So it makes sense that, rather than abandoning ship for overseas sunlight, we make our homes as light-filled as possible.

And if that great sun-kissed feeling isn’t enough, there are many other reasons why plenty of access to daylight is the most valuable asset your home can have.

 

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Natural light increases your home’s value

Chris Teakle, Director of Melbourne’s Prime Estate, says a northerly aspect that allows in plenty of natural light is highly sought after by homebuyers.

“A light and bright home is a huge selling point, no matter who the potential buyer is,” he explained in a recent article from Aussie.

 

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Sunlight is free heating

Maximising solar exposure helps transmit thermal heat into the house during cooler months and the evening hours. In fact, passive solar heating uses free heating direct from the sun to dramatically reduce the energy consumed in the average Australian home for space heating and cooling.

 

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A brighter home is a healthier home

While too much of the sun’s warm rays can be harmful to your skin, the right balance can have lots of mood lifting benefits.

Studies also show that getting anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes of sun on your arms, hands and face two to three times a week is enough to enjoy the vitamin D boosting benefits of the sun.  

However, despite the fact that we live in one of the world’s sunniest countries with all these beautiful beaches available to us, some Australians may not be getting enough sun because of too much time spent indoors.

Ideally, the solution would be to get outside more – but our demanding schedules don’t always permit that. So the next best thing is making sure our indoor environments deliver us enough sunlight.

So, when it comes to your home, let there be light!

Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club makes waves in the community

June 21, 2016

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You wouldn’t know it looking at the place now, but Sydney’s Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club wasn’t always such a beauty.

In desperate need of rescue from the ravages of time and tide, the previous clubhouse was a badly weathered brick box – to put it nicely.

Club members – and architects – Richard Cole and Robert Hopton began the task of rejuvenating the clubhouse back in 2006. The result of their labours, and those of countless club members, is a remarkable new home to more than 1,000 club members and countless community groups.

Richard Cole proudly shared why the project was particularly special to him.

“I’ve been a member of the surf club for a decade, done patrols and nippers. Just using the old club and knowing the organisation from the inside was probably the most informative influence on the way this has been designed. It needed to be a single building, yet had quite a complex brief for multiple uses. Flexibility of use was the key,” he explained.

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A generous use of glass in the design helped the revitalised clubhouse reconnect to its exquisite setting.

“Glass provides unobtrusive flexibility and thermal performance. The building is naturally ventilated and highly insulated. It uses minimal energy and collects its own rainwater and solar power,” Richard explained.

“Glass is intrinsic to allowing the clubhouse to function in a sustainable way – but it also offers a wonderful amenity that really just seems so logical now that it is open and operating. There’s a quality of light and pleasure of experience that feels incredibly relaxed and appropriate to beach life and culture. And of course, it is glazing in that context of being able to open up and close down as required which fits that whole ethos here of design flexibility,” he added. 

Despite its advantageous positioning, there project faced limitations.

We simply couldn’t have afforded the higher spec glass. Part of our funding structure was to seek assistance from the building supply community. The club enjoyed a fantastic response from a few suppliers, particularly Viridian. They really came on board in a fantastic way by upgrading to a higher spec of materials. It was brilliant to obtain their SmartGlass™. It had a huge impact on the appearance, experience and long term running costs of the building,” Richard explained. 

Viridian glass doesn’t just help the building access its gorgeous views and light, it provides thermal benefits as well.

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We recently had a 40 degree day and there weren’t any major heat issues. We can regulate sea breezes throughout summer with those sliding doors and windows. When the wind picks up on the south-east ocean side, we simply open it up to the west. The use of Viridian performance glazing is also a contributor to temperature management and ambience of the building,” he said. 

Since its impeccable renovation, the clubhouse has made a substantial impact on the community as a whole.

The response has been overwhelming. Most people who walk up the entry stairs and take in the vista are pretty astonished. They get this postcard experience and iconic beach image. Standing on the balcony, or from one of the upper level rooms and looking out to sea to the breaking waves is a fantastic experience. The design and materials really helped to shape that experience and it’s working. There are so many people within the club who volunteer and freely commit enormous amounts of time and skill. It is very rewarding to have been able to contribute to a building that facilitates that dedication.”  

The shortcut to creating a brilliant home

June 14, 2016

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You’d think that creating the perfect home would be tricky. After all, there are tonnes of articles out there on how to craft the ideal home – with lots of different methods on offer.

Some people believe that achieving the perfect home comes down to interior decor or Feng Shui, others insist on the importance of keeping up with the latest home design trends.

But we’ve got the hot tip for you, and it’s so much simpler than you’d think. If you really want to bring your home out of the Dark Ages, then it’s only fitting that the solution is light – lots and lots of natural light.

Natural light is the key ingredient for making a comfortable and healthy home.

Feeling the sun’s warm rays on your skin while at home has mood-lifting capacities, with some organisations linking exposure to daylight with mental health benefits, the building of strong bones and cancer prevention.

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With this in mind, it’s no surprise that homes with plenty of access to natural light are considered more valuable on the market.

But how to create a home full of natural light? Large windows and plenty of glass. But this can be limiting for home designers with concerns about energy efficiency.

That’s why we designed our award-winning LightBridge™ range, so you can bathe in natural light and reconnect with your surroundings – without sacrificing on energy efficiency.

LightBridge™ double glazing units kerb the flow of heat in and out of your home to an unparalleled degree. This allows you to have expansive glazing whilst still achieving an energy efficient home.

LightBridge™ is also available in a range of levels of enhanced security, noise reduction and UV protection – putting the power back in your hands to make your home your sanctuary.

Find out more about how LightBridge™ can help you create your ideal home today!

The prettiest house in Pretty Beach

May 25, 2016

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One thing is for sure, Pretty Beach on the NSW central coast truly deserves its name. A mere 90 kms north of Sydney, it boasts dramatic ocean views and some of the finest natural surroundings that can be found in Australia.

Architect Caryn McCarthy really made the most of these assets when designing this striking home – celebrating its setting in fine style.

“I think this house has that lightness of touch you expect of a beach house in this sort of climate. It isn’t a city house bought from a catalogue and just dropped in here. It’s really tailored for the site and specifically for the lifestyle of the clients,” she explained.  

With wide doors and open window spaces, the house really invites its surroundings in – much to the delight of homeowners.

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“I remember one really hot, humid summer’s day and they were adjusting all of the openings to get a breeze through the house. Suddenly it was as if we were outside. Those operable, sliding windows allow you to do that. They are very against flicking a switch and cutting off from the outside world,” she said.

McCarthy achieves what some designers feel is impossible, taking full advantage of the access to stunning views and natural light by really harnessing the power of glass, without sacrificing energy efficiency.

This was achieved by working with Viridian’s ComfortPlus™ glass. 

“The beauty of ComfortPlus is the way it helps to deal with direct and reflected thermal loads. In winter it allows the house to warm from the low sunlight. ComfortPlus allowed such an extensive use of glass and with such obvious benefits around daylight and views. Viridian clear toughened balustrades internally and around the pool continue that language of transparency,” McCarthy explained. 

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The house performs very well thermally and I would put that down to the coating on ComfortPlus. We didn’t use double-glazing because the climate isn’t extreme enough. We have the best of both worlds in that this glass lets in plenty of winter daylight and warmth to remain comfortable,” she said.

In addition to hosting beautiful views and plenty of access to natural light, the house has also been designed with protection measures in place to combat the threat of bushfires.

“There’s a contrast between the size of wall openings to the west versus the rest of the building. That is a direct response to privacy, but it also faces the national park on that side. It was designed to level two in the bushfire construction category. We had to use a certain class of hardwood for anything external. There is a very large water capacity on site that the fire-fighting services now have access to.”

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For more incredible design stories subscribe to our Vision magazine now: http://bit.ly/1UJfGpx

Creating the perfect getaway spot with glass

May 10, 2016

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This lakeside pavilion is certainly something special, and not just because of its striking design.

This particular project hits close to home for architect Matthew Woodward as it’s part of his family’s property on the NSW central-coast.

Achieving a seamless connection with nature, the pavilion sits quietly some 200 metres from the main residence – creating a real sense of serene privacy.

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Tethered to shore at one end and sprung like a diving-board at the other, the result is one of exquisite counter-balance. A wafer thin, graphite etched, steel frame and barely visible walls deliver a powerful impact.

Woodward was able to create this striking and zen-like space with a clever and innovative use of Viridian glass.

VTough™ toughened safety glass works beautifully here. At the time, bushfire regulations demanded we achieve a level 2 to 3 construction rating. It’s an incredibly clear product. It’s the clearest glass we could find. Its high performing visible light transmittance was the main reason we went with Viridian. It’s bright and gives us fantastic reflections. There’s no colour and the glass has a terrific transparency,” Woodward said.

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A sleek transparency is achieved with oversized Viridian glass walls, but these sliding walls also offer other fantastic benefits – allowing cooling breezes, birdsong and bush scents to effortlessly enter the space.

In summer all you need to do is slide the glass panels and you have the northeast prevailing breezes coming straight off the water and through the pavilion. Cross-ventilation just draws cool air through. It’s beautiful. If it’s hot, you open up those panels and it cools down instantly,” he added. 

We’d sure love to come visit some time!


For more incredible design stories subscribe to our Vision magazine now: http://bit.ly/1UJfGpx

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