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Palm Springs Project: Breeze Blocks in Contemporary Design

Joseph Calasara, Webb & Brown-Neaves’ Innovation and New Product Designer, says his intent in using the blocks was to communicate the concept of the home in a unique and immediately recognisable way. “I used the breeze blocks as they are an architectural ornament that speaks to a certain period of time,” he says.

Calasara was inspired by Palm Springs’ dramatic desert scenery and mid-century aesthetics. He notes that there’s been an increased admiration for desert modernism recently, bringing relevance back to the use of breeze blocks in contemporary design.

Clean lines, glass and indoor-outdoor spaces are hallmarks of this architectural style, which is seeing a universal resurgence that’s evident by the renewed popularity of the blocks.

The house faces a sports area surrounded by lush greenery, and breeze blocks offered a clever solution to both complement and leverage the encompassing environment, while also providing privacy. Additionally, the blocks help to control sun exposure in the house in an architecturally relevant way. Calasara says the design “provides an external fabric, rich in patterns and geometry to address privacy and also a different level of permeability and enclosure.”

Not only do the breeze blocks give the home its attention-drawing facade, but they’re also used internally as a counterbalance to the dramatic exterior. As a feature partition between the ensuite and the bedroom, as well as overlooking an outdoor fernery, the blocks further enhance the reference to desert minimalism and create a continuation of the theme into the interior dwelling spaces.

Extrapolating the use of breeze blocks for interior design purposes, Calasara says he sees no reason why the cost-effective material couldn’t be used to create furniture. GB Masonry’s newest breeze block designs, including Flower and Cloud, certainly lend themselves to varied applications with their more organic forms.

As with other concrete masonry products, the versatile blocks aren’t simply pleasing to the eye, but also provide environmental benefits and sound insulation, are quick to assemble and come in a variety of finishes.

“There’s a lot to appreciate about breeze blocks,” says Calasara, “which makes me want to use them at every opportunity. You’ll probably start to see this product as a main feature in landscape architecture and internal partitions.”

More than simply a contemporary home with a laidback style, The Palm Springs house is “a story about a skin of delicate ornament — the breeze blocks”, says Calasara. “It’s an exploration of patterns, geometry, adornment and richness of the surface of the building.”  

Article: Courtesy of Brickworks Building Products
Location: Mosman Park, Perth
Builder: Webb & Brown-Neaves
Photography: D-Max Photography

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