Project: The Block 2020, Brighton, Melbourne
Architect: Julian Brenchley
Principal Glazing: LightBridge next™, VTough™ and PixaGraphic™
Text, Images & Film: Peter and Jenny Hyatt
Before we see The Block on screen a lot of work is done behind the scenes to prepare the site and individual homes. The contestants are then given a blank canvas on which they can add their own individual touches over the course of the season.
The Block Architect, Julian Brenchley, has worked on The Block series since it began and has been in the lucky position to see its evolution and success on screen.
We had the opportunity to chat to Julian after the series about how the placement of windows and glazing were important to the structure and orientation of the homes, and the way the contestants take this thinking to the next level to create finished luxurious finished homes.
The year the homes fetched record-breaking auction results, what a success!
Here is a snippet of our interview with Julian, you can click through at the end to read the full case study and you can also watch our interview and video capture of the home below.
Viridian: What does Viridian’s product range bring to The Block?
Julian Brenchley: In terms of what we see or, ironically, don't see, is the ability to explore the quite extraordinary introduction of natural light into these old houses. The technology in glass, with LightBridge next™ especially, gives us opportunities to do things that you probably really wouldn't have been able to consider a few years ago. So it brings a great opportunity to The Block.
Viridian: Is the orientation of all of the houses a bonus or a penalty?
Julian Brenchley: We can't really choose the orientation of these blocks, in much the same way that you can't choose your family, but you love them nonetheless. All the sides of the buildings faced north, so in Melbourne, as you well know, you like to stay warm in winter and have your living face north. That presented some challenges, but the inclusion of courtyard or dividing spaces for all the houses, combined with the use of this high-tech glass, gave us this quite extraordinary change in the functionality of all the houses.
Viridian: LightBridge next™ is one of the relatively new products featured here to deliver the unexpected bonus of an impressive acoustic buffer. What did that mean for your designs?
Julian Brenchley: All five houses are in the stratosphere of lovely house locations in Melbourne. New Street does carry a bit of traffic in the morning and the afternoons so there is a modicum of noise and acoustic treatment required, especially to the old houses, which are pretty much neglected, one hundred percent in this regard.
LightBridge next™ assisted greatly by creating an acoustic barrier and probably the more high-performing component of that at the end of the day, as opposed to what would have been the old traditional float in the old houses.
There's the big glass moments, but not far behind are the bespoke elements, with decorative, patterned glass and splashbacks that all add to that mosaic of treatments light enters.
Well the big sense of achievement or pleasure I get out of watching what the contestants do with the bare bones of these high performance buildings is the tapestry of life contestants bring. The splashbacks, glass balustrades, mirrors in strategic locations, capture views and sunlight and glimpses that adds a whole other dimension. As you walk through these houses as an architect of the buildings, of the framework, it's quite a pleasure to see what they actually come up with. On the whole, the appearance and what they do is extraordinary.
Read the full case study here.
Watch our interview with Julian, and take a virtual tour of the homes here: