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A finely detailed, custom Brick Inlay podium is a standout at Escala NewQuay

Escala NewQuay brings the quintessentially-Melbourne laneway design and thinking to Docklands. A city within a city, it mixes retail, residential and commercial property in a uniquely Melbourne way. Under the expert direction of MAB, with masterful design by Six Degrees Architects, this hybrid development is already bringing new life and vitality to the area.

And for Six Degrees, it was a long labour of love; one that’s already reaping dividends.

Escala is Spanish for scale. So, true to its namesake, the architecture celebrates this concept through grand public spaces, light-filled corridors and ample amenity.

The development includes an incredible collection of 173 residences - a mixture of lofts, one, two and three bedroom apartments, and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) residences with street frontage. The properties feature double height, or 2.9m exposed concrete ceilings, spacious living areas and a communal piazza, the ultimate drawcard from the street.

Amenities include a private rooftop garden, complete with secluded barbeque and sundeck, an indoor swimming pool and spa, as well as a gym and library. All submerged in, or with open outlooks to, lush garden views.

What sets Escala NewQuay apart on the street, from the shores of NewQuay, is the finely detailed palette of brickwork, stone, stained glass and green plantings.

“We tried to concentrate the activity of the commercial floor, and the residential floor and the east west laneway,” comments Mark Healy, Director, Six Degrees.

“It was about making the podium read as distinct, individual buildings, and so it makes sense that the corner one should be the masonry building,” continues Mark.

The detailed brick podium was created using a custom designed Brick Inlay façade. And chatting to Mark, you begin to realise why this project was, indeed, a labour of love.

It was one of the first large-scale developments taken on by Six Degrees. And also the first time the team had used a precast brick solution.

“We were interested in working with Robertson Façade Systems rather than anyone else, because we’ve used your products before, I’ve seen your past work and I know good quality when I see it,” says Mark.

So began a steep learning curve for Mark and his team – getting up to speed with Brick Inlay, and coordinating the requirements and working closely with the team at Robertson’s and the precasters to achieve the design they wanted.

And it worked exceptionally well.

“There were some tricky aspects to the podium design. We were playing with inlay patterns, but nothing was ever a problem for Robertson’s. The way they could do a corner brick was fantastic because not everyone offers that. And also because with brick tiles on panels it’s all about the panel lines, trying to get the tolerance there to make it read like normal brickwork and ensure no misalignment. The horizontals needs to line up and there’s a bit of coordination there, but we worked together and got a great result,” explains Mark.

“We were so happy with the work that Robertson’s did for us. It was all about teamwork, follow through and thoroughness.”

The success in the brick podium’s design also lay in choosing appropriate materials for the scale, to make it credible and believable. The choice of a Krause custom rustic brick tile blend was ideal, also giving a gentle nod to the warehouse scale tradition.

“We wanted edge-fired bricks, which are smoother, and we were really fussy but Robertson’s did it so well. They thoroughly worked through the colour palette and combination, and the mix was absolutely perfect. It’s a great product and we’re so pleased with Robertson’s work,” concludes Mark.

For any large-scale development, the proof is in the uptake. And for Escala NewQuay, all but a handful of residential and commercial tenancies are sold. That’s the mark of a project exceptionally well planned, designed and delivered.

Architect: Six Degrees

Developer: MAB

Precaster: Nu-Con Precast

Photographer: Alex Reinders



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