The heart of Warwick Junction is beating with new life in the form of the recently constructed community building, Denis Hurley Centre.

Replacing the demolished 106-year-old parish centre which sits adjacent to the Emmanuel Cathedral, the new community centre is named after the former archbishop of Durban, Denis Hurley, who actively spoke out against the atrocities of apartheid for five decades.

Talking about the multi-faith establishment, Gonzalo Prieto of Ruben Reddy Architects said the aim was to make the building as energy efficient as possible to cut down on future costs.

“We had a tight budget so we needed to make practical use of the materials and not rely on the finishes. We decided that face brick would be the right choice.”

Prieto said they opted for Corobrik’s range, selecting 65 000 silvergrey travertine FBX face bricks, 50 000 non-face plaster and 20 000 non-face extra bricks.

Taking into account Durban’s summer heat, Corobrik Sales Manager, Pat Moon, said the silvergrey travertine was the perfect choice.

“The light colour of the face brick has reflective properties which will minimise heat retention within the building,” said Moon.

“Being colourfast with excellent resilience the face bricks will well withstand the elements so there will be very little maintenance later on.”

Moon said the clay bricks also have a natural propensity to absorb and release humidity from the atmosphere on Durban’s typical summer days.

It is this attribute that helps keep indoor humidity at the 40%-60% level necessary for supporting healthy living.

Architect, Prieto, echoed Moon’s views, saying the travertine fitted in with all the ideals of resistance and low maintenance.

“We wanted a contemporary look but didn’t want to go for the traditional brick colours of red and orange, so we opted for the silvergrey travertine.”