Located in the vibrant coastal suburb of Brighton, known for its connection to the Adelaide metropolitan coastline, HEM/ presents a contemporary mixed-use insertion into its low scale context. Flanked by a dappling of small commercial, neighbourhood centres and residential buildings, the multifunctional approach aims mimic the scale and horizontality of the neighbouring-built forms. A solid masonry podium wraps around the perimeter along the streetscape level, above the residential volumes sit atop, delicately floating over the ground levels.
The building is divided into a commercial café or office on ground with a direct connection to the arterial roadways. The side road is activated by the residential lobby and common outdoor landscape space whilst the carparks, public utilities and services areas are concealed centrally. The four-bedroom apartments above provide an opportunity for a family to sprawl out. Initiatives include multiple indoor/outdoor courtyards allow natural light and ventilation deep into the internals whilst ensuring that there is a visual and physical connection to the externals at all times.
The living spaces to the South rake to an open gable form to increase the volumetric relationship to the rise in altitude of the adjacent suburban context. Blurring inside from outside, fresh air balconies provide views over the coast and the Adelaide CBD providing an additional external breakout space. At the threshold of each apartment, there is a subtle point of contact encouraging casual interactions with neighbours.
Materiality was intended to act as a signpost for the building’s personality eluding and establishing a fine grain neighbourhood feel. Brickwork is divided into three distinct façade portions illustrating an address for each shop front, referencing surrounding vernaculars. Above a geometric layering of light weight claddings seamlessly blend the residential volume into the building’s totality, splicing them into roofline and breaking down the overall massing. Internally, pop colours and warm timbers are used throughout to offset the planar white elements and concretes. Black windows frames intentionally curate external views. Combined, the building is robust and resilient to its location intended to last its multi-use inhabitation/