A Multi-Generational, Multi-Use Model – Mermaid Multihouse by Partners Hill and Hogg & Lamb
Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

Photography Shantanu Starick
Architecture Partners Hill
Words Bronwyn Marshall

A study in the multigenerational living condition and the reinstatement of the village community in Australia’s suburbs conceived by Partners Hill and delivered with Hogg & Lamb, Mermaid Multihouse serves as an experiment in the multi-use vernacular.

Located in the Gold Coast, Mermaid Multihouse stands as a representation of changing times, away from the hitherto popular singular dwelling for one individual or family and into a new realm. As housing prices and residential density continues to increase, the need for a new form of housing is becoming clear and variations on a model that allows for multi-generational living are currently being tested. Pooling their resources, a mother and son client jointly purchased a property within their desired suburb. Conceived together with Partners Hill, the project was delivered with Hogg and Lamb was informed by the idea of reinstating a mode of living inspired by the traditional village community.

In total, six differing rooms all have a considered connection to the garden elements, with a visual relationship maintained internally and as one passes through the connected areas.

With separate dwellings divided by a common shared party wall, separate living areas and other zones are able to be converted to a multitude of varying functional requirements, both for income streams and for changed functionality as life and its requirements evolve concurrently. Built by Concord Build, the converted and repurposed home sees the division of the encompassing volume to account for two separate and self-sustained dwellings to emerge. This model is then overlaid with the community village typology, where laneways and separate entrance points connect the internal zones, mirroring inner-urban passageways. Testing the dismantling of the traditional suburban model, the results show an ingenuity that could provide veritable solutions for many.

In total, six differing rooms all have a considered connection to the garden elements, with a visual relationship maintained internally and as one passes through the connected areas. These linking corridors also allow for passive cooling and ventilation. Within the constraints of one suburban block, the repurposing of its parts into a series of interconnected zones to create a new community of sorts is an interesting and well-considered resolve. Echoing inner-urban high-density housing models in Japan, the model sees an efficient utilisation of space and a more compact agreement than is traditional within the suburban setting.

Mermaid Multihouse sees the re-use of a suburban site, tripling its density.

Mermaid Multihouse sees the re-use of a suburban site triple its density, creating a model that will support multiple generations, changing requirements over time, and working from home. With the inclusion of a number of sustainable principles, the project is a considered and curated social, environment and economical response. Rainwater storage sits alongside enviro-certified construction systems and products, fans are used in place of air-conditioning and ventilation opportunities through the arcade are created. Partners Hill has proposed an integrated and well-conceived model for reconsideration of the traditional residential landscape.

Published 30 May, 2020
Photography  Shantanu Starick
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