Low Maintenance Facade Tops Demand

A warm-raw concrete look married with a low maintenance, pre-sealed panel, ticks all the right boxes for architects, designers, builders and owners in a wall façade that both blends and contrasts.

Key architects across Australia have discovered the versatile nature of Cemintel BareStone™ with standout projects featuring the warm-concrete looking panels.

The rough terraces on site and the surrounding ranges influenced the Desert House design.

Dunn and Hillam’s founder and Principal, Ashley Dunn, received the brief from the owners, a professional couple who wanted a home that welcomed visitors, yet protected it from, and celebrated, the sometimes harsh but beautiful desert environment.

“We went all around the world to find the ideal material for this project. We had strict criteria it had to meet; perform well in a harsh environment; low zero maintenance; and a product that didn’t have an applied finish like paint. We understand and like the fact that materials develop a patina over time, but we didn’t want a product that relied on an applied finish.

“BareStone is much lighter and easier to cut, drill than similar products on the market. We also needed a standardised product that could be shipped to Alice Springs. BareStone ticked all the boxes,” said Mr Dunn.

The Desert House is an exceptional forward-thinking piece of architecture, demonstrating the smart collaboration with the environment and the positives you can draw on in the unforgiving desert.

“We included BareStone as the tough outer skin as we really like the way it looks - the clear concrete finish. The fact that the sheets are all dimensionally stable and do not need squaring up on site means that we can detail a façade to have consistent shadow gaps between sheets and around openings.

“The range of sizes gives us a fair bit of flexibility in a non-standard application and the fact that the sheets are all pre-finished is a bonus when working above ground as it reduces the time that scaffolding is required,” said Mr Dunn.

Down south in Victoria, The LiFEHOUSE, by LiFEHOUSE Design is another impressive example of BareStone’s unique, versatile appeal.

Affordable, sustainable and beautiful, the LiFEHOUSE is an award-winning concept that minimises the overall energy use, saves 80 percent of design costs, 20 per cent of building costs and saves on running costs.

The LiFEHOUSE design incorporated BareStone on the south wall of the design to create a strong statement on this side of the house and protect it from weather. It was also used on the entire detached office and studio and all the fascias of the house, selected for both practical and aesthetic reasons.

LiFEHOUSE Interior Designer, Robyn Gibson, said the house design is based on lightweight walls.

“It means we can get good air gaps between stud walls and external cladding and maximise the added insulation within those walls. The fact that BareStone is actually installed on a 35mm top hat section allows us that extra air gap,” said Ms Gibson.

The LiFEHOUSE is designed to produce less waste during the construction process. Standard materials dimensions, such as BareStone, are incorporated into the design. Efficient space planning ensures minimal use of materials and finishes that require minimal or no coating or finishing is used, saving on resources and maintenance.

“BareStone was the ideal selection for LiFEHOUSE in terms of ease of design, construction and installation. The fact that it’s prefinished and gave us the concrete look that we were after, the added bonus that it can basically be screwed off and reused, was a big factor for us in terms of its environmental sustainability,” said Ms Gibson.

On Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Noosa Flexible Learning Centre for Edmund Rice Education Australia, designed by Fulton Trotter Architects, fulfilled a brief to create an alternative learning environment for disengaged and disenfranchised young people that featured an informal and non-institutional education facility geared towards positive and productive learning outcomes.

The team from Fulton Trotter including, Mark Kalinowski, wanted the informal nature of the learning and gathering spaces to provide a welcoming environment for the young people.

“We felt that BareStone cladding was a perfect choice for this school due to its non-institutional nature and the ‘rawness’ of the material was a fitting parallel to the school’s principles of honesty and respect,” said Mr Kalinowski.

The use of BareStone was further informed by a number of factors including the requirement for durable, hardwearing materials, minimal ongoing maintenance, use of something different and edgy, clear contrast to traditional education material palettes and to reflect the facilities’ principles by expressing the honesty of materials.

The BareStone sheets are interspersed between bright panels of polycarbonate and painted steel in alternating colours of yellow, red and orange.

“Externally we chose to only have the sunhoods and curtain walls at the entry coloured to add some fun and interest to the otherwise quite reserved and neutral tones of the external materials palette.

Aesthetics aside, the CeminSeal technology and ability to use common lightweight cladding details along with eliminating the need to apply a sealer on site, appealed to Fulton Trotter Architects and assisted with the ease of construction.

“It is pleasing to see the continued evolution and development of building materials and products from companies such as Cemintel. It encourages new design solutions and helps satisfies both client’s and designer’s visions,” remarked Mr Kalinowski.

Cemintel Marketing Manager, Ben Thompson, says the industry shift towards building materials that provide more than practical measures has seen Cemintel rise to the challenge and enjoy exceeding these expectations.

“While there is still a need for durable, versatile materials that meets the industries high standards and expectations, we understand the equally important need to work alongside architects and designers in their drive for creativity and originality and hence will continue to invest into the colour and design of prefinished, low maintenance products, so we can continue to see cutting edge projects such as the Desert House, LiFEHOUSE and Noosa Flexible Learning Centre.”