There’s no shortage of media coverage on Maitland’s Riverlink Building. And that’s no surprise. Not only because it was designed by renowned Sydney-based architects, CHROFI, and has become this historic New South Wales town’s gateway building, seamlessly linking High Street in the town centre to the Hunter River. Or because it’s the place to meet in Maitland, offering various public facilities, a restaurant, café and a covered space for outdoor events or somewhere to simply sit and relax.
But because in less than one year since opening in April 2018, the Riverlink Building has become a multiple award winning, internationally recognised landmark.
At the international 2018 Blueprint Awards in October, convened by the British magazine Blueprint, the Riverink Building won the Best Public-Use Project with Public Funding category. Riverlink formed part of the $9.92 million project funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Resources for Regions program to revitalise the town’s business precinct.
At the 2018 World Architecture Festival Awards in December 2018, it won the Civic and Community – Completed Buildings award, recognising both CHROFI and McGregor Coxall (Landscape Architects) for breathing new life into the historic High Street Precinct in the heart of Maitland. In fact, at the Riverlink’s opening, Loretta Baker, Maitland’s mayor said, “The Riverlink Building is a wonderful addition to The Levee and it will really strengthen the city’s historic relationship with the Hunter River. It’s a beautiful building that we are very proud of and that our community will use for generations to come.”
A combination of design and material choice were the judge’s clear deciding factors at both of these awards:
“The choice of materials and the detailing give the building a timeless touch.” Ben van Berkel, Blueprint Awards.
“A truly thoughtful public project which gives a strong civic presence; not only a sculptural gateway but a place to dwell and host.” Ole Scheeren, Blueprint Awards
“It is the clarity and simplicity of the architect’s designs in opening up the town to the river by removing existing buildings.” World Architecture Festival Awards
Robertson’s Building Products couldn’t be happier for the exceptionally talented team at CHROFI. We know they love Petersen bricks and had been waiting for the perfect project to come along to use them. Well worth the wait, and well deserved accolades. Riverlink delivers a harmonious combination of materials, predominantly bricks - specifically Petersen D71 bricks as cladding – complemented by Blackbutt timber panels, as well as a steel roof and metal exterior. It’s a modern statement in a historic setting. Yet it’s perfect to place, sitting seamlessly between its surrounding historical buildings, despite its monolithic design and sharp edges.
In fact, the Riverlink Building is a perfect example of how bricks, specifically handmade bricks, can “bring a handmade, historic feel to modern architecture,” according to Joshua Zoeller, Architect and Partner at CHROFI. In selecting Petersen D71 bricks, Joshua says, “We wanted Riverlink to embrace modernity but also complement the historic buildings on the High Street, which are mainly made of handmade brick. When you get close and touch it, D71 conveys a clear sense of something human and recognisable.” And, with its sharply defined, tapered corners, Petersen made a number of special D71 bricks, including some with rounded corners.
Without a doubt, the softness of the Petersen D71 bricks is somewhat reminiscent of sandstone, perfectly blending the architect’s brick choice with the surrounding buildings on the riverbank, whose facades alternate between soft yellow and cream, with fine sandstone dotted in between. Read more about the Riverlink Building’s design in our previous blog here, and also in Petersen 39, pages 8-9, here.
Product: Petersen D71 bricks
Landscaping: McGregor Coxall
Photography: Justin Alexander