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Krause Emperor bricks add a layer of history to Trinity College’s award-winning contemporary design

Krause Emperor Bricks, Trinity College

The rebuild of Trinity College, on the University of Melbourne Parkville campus, was to be a striking legacy project with a high quality design and, ultimately, a proud addition to the next chapter of campus history. With Hayball at the helm, it has proved that and more.

Trinity College is a contemporary addition to a historic campus. What is immediately apparent is the reference to the heritage elements, and the sense of history and place that’s drawn together in a highly contemporary design. So, the many subtle contextual links between old and new are a hallmark of this brilliant design.

The distinctive serrated façade and the brick patternation being case in point. Not only a striking first impression of the five-storey student residence, but critical in connecting the North East campus precinct to the broader college. The building’s stunning geometry is a clever reference to the neogothic architecture on campus; much of the geometry drawing from the gothic shapes and rooflines, window frame detailing and triangulated breakup of glass. “There is so much detail of the heritage architecture that we were able to reinterpret in the angular or serrated façade geometry,” comments Sarah Buckeridge, Director at Hayball and project director. It's spectacular.

Krause Emperor bricks, Grampian Blue

The selection of Krause Emperor bricks, in Grampian Blue, has accentuated texture in the façade, and their handcrafted quality implanting contemporary architecture within the historic setting.

Sarah explains, “The design had a strong geometry to it with the serrated façade, and the Krause Emperor bricks added to that strong geometry, and the raked mortar joint also adds a depth and shadow to the façade. We wanted something which, within the detail, had that sense of craft, and using the Emperor bricks emphasised that,” Sarah explains.

“I do love the bricks. It’s their ability to bring into contemporary architecture that sense of layering of history and that sense of craft that’s often difficult to achieve with contemporary building technology; and I think that sense of craft is evident in the design and we are very proud of that," Sarah continues.

Complementing the Krause Emperor bricks, the external palette includes powder coated aluminium ventilation panels­­–adding another design detail–and steelwork around the base of the building. The remaining element in the palette was re-used materials from the site, again providing that critical contextual link. This includes sandstone from the Vatican Building (constructed in 1925) in the perimeter garden walls, along with brickwork salvaged from Wynne Cottage, Dorothy and Moorhouse in paving, battered walls, new brickwork landscape inlays and seats.

Krause Emperor bricks continue into the lobby around the lift wells, inviting the material richness inside. This delivers continuity and creates somewhat of a breezeway, providing natural ventilation around the central circulation stair and lift.

What sets this design apart are the beautiful material and design contrasts. Most evident is the contrast of the Junior Common Room on the ground floor with the brickwork. The room’s lightweight steel and glass structure placed beautifully under an Oak tree, just like a garden pavilion, sitting in elegant contrast to the building’s masonry expression.

Grampian Blue Emperor Bricks, Krause

Clearly evident throughout is the sense of home and community. Hayball has, indeed, created a nurturing place to live, learn and socialise. After all, the building is the students’ home, and the interior design speaks to that in volumes. A range of communal facilities–for both socialising and studying–have been designed in different scales to become the heart of university life outside the classroom, building an inclusive community to complement the academic experience.

This building is the College’s most significant capital works project to date, and the first to be completed as part of the redevelopment framework developed by MGS Architects in 2018. As Sarah says, “it marks a new chapter in the history of the College and one that will be sure to support and enrich the students’ lives and experiences at Trinity.” With Trinity College as the benchmark for the redevelopment, we eagerly await the next in line.

Excitingly, Trinity College recently received The Best Overend Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing at the 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards, the highest accolade in the category. Hearty congratulations to both Hayball and the University on receiving this well-deserved honour.

Architect: Hayball

Builder: Harris HMC

Masonry Contractor: APT Brick & Block Laying

Landscape Design: Openwork Landscape

Photographer: Tom Roe



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