Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia...

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia. We spoke to Austral Masonry about contemporary breeze blocks.

Synonymous with Australian suburbia in the 1950s and 1960s, the humble breeze block had a quick exit - after its burgeoning popularity in this period, the beauty of the material was quickly overlooked. However, the breeze block didn’t disappear. Its infamous geometric patterning remaining visible in the suburbs for years to come in the form (predominantly) of front fences. Drive around any older suburban area in south-east Queensland and you’ll come across a breeze block fence from this era.

 

In New Zealand, the breeze block was less popular - here, we’ve got a cooler climate and the breezy beauty of the geometrically-moulded block didn’t catch on quite as much as it did across the ditch. That’s changed with a recent resurgence of the breeze block, and the New Zealand architectural landscape is welcoming the classic breezy beauty with welcome arms.

 

The resurgence began in what some might consider to be an interesting place for a building material to originate - the small, inland town of Gympie somewhere between the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg. Here, a team of craftsmen continue on a long legacy of skilled masons. “The team we have at our specialist plant in Gympie are so passionate about their craft. It’s something many of them have been doing for years and years, following in the traditions of those before them,” Austral’s Troy Carter says.

“A few years ago we came across an old breeze block mould from the 1960s and we decided to do a run of them. When we presented it to architects, it literally went crazy. From there, we’ve developed the range and are now producing six or seven different breeze blocks. From the moment we started making them again, it just went mad,” Troy says.

 

There’s a few differences between the original breeze blocks and their modern counterparts though, thanks to the precision crafting and delicate balance of oxides and aggregates used in the blocks.

 

“The blocks in the 1960s were really rough and they always had to be painted. Up in Gympie at our specialist plant, we decided to create something different with this modern breeze block.”

 

 And they were well placed to do just that, located in the vicinity of some of the country’s most famous white sand beaches and with access to a range of unique aggregates. “We started making them with the white sand and different aggregates and honing the blocks to take out any imperfections in the product. This allowed us to create a really crisp, clean finish that doesn’t require painting,” Troy says.

The allure of these contemporary yet retro blocks is a somewhat unexpected phenomenon with their use expanding at a rate no one could have predicted even a few years ago.

 

 “Not only are they being used outdoors, they’re being specified into interior settings all over the place. We’re seeing them made into office desks, used in office fit outs and as partitioning walls, as feature walls in residential homes, and as privacy or dividing walls in outdoor spaces. They’re being used as fences, as cladding, and in structural walls.”

 

Available exclusively from The Brickery, the introduction of Austral breeze blocks may just be the beginning of a new era where the breeze block once again becomes synonymous with the residential vernacular.

 

To find out more about the wider collection from Austral, visit Austral Masonry on ArchiPro ​here.

Austral Masonry

Austral Masonry’s range of coloured, standard and premium masonry have set a new standard in quality and style for the versatile concrete block. By adding oxides and...

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Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block
Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia...

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia. We spoke to Austral Masonry about contemporary breeze blocks.

Synonymous with Australian suburbia in the 1950s and 1960s, the humble breeze block had a quick exit - after its burgeoning popularity in this period, the beauty of the material was quickly overlooked. However, the breeze block didn’t disappear. Its infamous geometric patterning remaining visible in the suburbs for years to come in the form (predominantly) of front fences. Drive around any older suburban area in south-east Queensland and you’ll come across a breeze block fence from this era.

 

In New Zealand, the breeze block was less popular - here, we’ve got a cooler climate and the breezy beauty of the geometrically-moulded block didn’t catch on quite as much as it did across the ditch. That’s changed with a recent resurgence of the breeze block, and the New Zealand architectural landscape is welcoming the classic breezy beauty with welcome arms.

 

The resurgence began in what some might consider to be an interesting place for a building material to originate - the small, inland town of Gympie somewhere between the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg. Here, a team of craftsmen continue on a long legacy of skilled masons. “The team we have at our specialist plant in Gympie are so passionate about their craft. It’s something many of them have been doing for years and years, following in the traditions of those before them,” Austral’s Troy Carter says.

“A few years ago we came across an old breeze block mould from the 1960s and we decided to do a run of them. When we presented it to architects, it literally went crazy. From there, we’ve developed the range and are now producing six or seven different breeze blocks. From the moment we started making them again, it just went mad,” Troy says.

 

There’s a few differences between the original breeze blocks and their modern counterparts though, thanks to the precision crafting and delicate balance of oxides and aggregates used in the blocks.

 

“The blocks in the 1960s were really rough and they always had to be painted. Up in Gympie at our specialist plant, we decided to create something different with this modern breeze block.”

 

 And they were well placed to do just that, located in the vicinity of some of the country’s most famous white sand beaches and with access to a range of unique aggregates. “We started making them with the white sand and different aggregates and honing the blocks to take out any imperfections in the product. This allowed us to create a really crisp, clean finish that doesn’t require painting,” Troy says.

The allure of these contemporary yet retro blocks is a somewhat unexpected phenomenon with their use expanding at a rate no one could have predicted even a few years ago.

 

 “Not only are they being used outdoors, they’re being specified into interior settings all over the place. We’re seeing them made into office desks, used in office fit outs and as partitioning walls, as feature walls in residential homes, and as privacy or dividing walls in outdoor spaces. They’re being used as fences, as cladding, and in structural walls.”

 

Available exclusively from The Brickery, the introduction of Austral breeze blocks may just be the beginning of a new era where the breeze block once again becomes synonymous with the residential vernacular.

 

To find out more about the wider collection from Austral, visit Austral Masonry on ArchiPro ​here.

Austral Masonry

Austral Masonry’s range of coloured, standard and premium masonry have set a new standard in quality and style for the versatile concrete block. By adding oxides and...

Recommended reading
Done tagging
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Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

Breezy beauty: the resurgence of the breeze block

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia...

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In the small Queensland town of Gympie, the reinvention of a retro building block has seen the style catch on across Australasia. We spoke to Austral Masonry about contemporary breeze blocks.

Synonymous with Australian suburbia in the 1950s and 1960s, the humble breeze block had a quick exit - after its burgeoning popularity in this period, the beauty of the material was quickly overlooked. However, the breeze block didn’t disappear. Its infamous geometric patterning remaining visible in the suburbs for years to come in the form (predominantly) of front fences. Drive around any older suburban area in south-east Queensland and you’ll come across a breeze block fence from this era.

 

In New Zealand, the breeze block was less popular - here, we’ve got a cooler climate and the breezy beauty of the geometrically-moulded block didn’t catch on quite as much as it did across the ditch. That’s changed with a recent resurgence of the breeze block, and the New Zealand architectural landscape is welcoming the classic breezy beauty with welcome arms.

 

The resurgence began in what some might consider to be an interesting place for a building material to originate - the small, inland town of Gympie somewhere between the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg. Here, a team of craftsmen continue on a long legacy of skilled masons. “The team we have at our specialist plant in Gympie are so passionate about their craft. It’s something many of them have been doing for years and years, following in the traditions of those before them,” Austral’s Troy Carter says.

“A few years ago we came across an old breeze block mould from the 1960s and we decided to do a run of them. When we presented it to architects, it literally went crazy. From there, we’ve developed the range and are now producing six or seven different breeze blocks. From the moment we started making them again, it just went mad,” Troy says.

 

There’s a few differences between the original breeze blocks and their modern counterparts though, thanks to the precision crafting and delicate balance of oxides and aggregates used in the blocks.

 

“The blocks in the 1960s were really rough and they always had to be painted. Up in Gympie at our specialist plant, we decided to create something different with this modern breeze block.”

 

 And they were well placed to do just that, located in the vicinity of some of the country’s most famous white sand beaches and with access to a range of unique aggregates. “We started making them with the white sand and different aggregates and honing the blocks to take out any imperfections in the product. This allowed us to create a really crisp, clean finish that doesn’t require painting,” Troy says.

The allure of these contemporary yet retro blocks is a somewhat unexpected phenomenon with their use expanding at a rate no one could have predicted even a few years ago.

 

 “Not only are they being used outdoors, they’re being specified into interior settings all over the place. We’re seeing them made into office desks, used in office fit outs and as partitioning walls, as feature walls in residential homes, and as privacy or dividing walls in outdoor spaces. They’re being used as fences, as cladding, and in structural walls.”

 

Available exclusively from The Brickery, the introduction of Austral breeze blocks may just be the beginning of a new era where the breeze block once again becomes synonymous with the residential vernacular.

 

To find out more about the wider collection from Austral, visit Austral Masonry on ArchiPro ​here.

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