Long and Far Reaching – Mona Lane Apartments by Harley Graham Architects
Brunswick Heads, NSW, Australia

Photography nson Smart
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Interior Designer Louise Walsh
Landscape Larc

As a nod to Japanese design, Mona Lane Apartments allows three generations to cohabit under the same shared roof, emphasising low maintenance living. Harley Graham Architects, together with interiors by Louise Walsh, proposes a multi-tiered home that reaches out to the riverbank it teeters over, with clear uninterrupted visual access outward.

Culminating from a planned vision for the site, Mona Lane Apartments is conceived as an engaged series of homes, surrounded and embraced by individual garden settings whilst simultaneously responding to location and context. Within its Brunswick Heads locale, the residences sit atop one another, enabling three generations to co-exist harmoniously within the same space, privately divided but also connected as needed. The formal approach takes references from Japanese design, where a minimal sense of restraint and well-proportioned, balanced spaces neatly intercept with one another. Heading the team – along with landscape design by Larc and interior design by Louise Walsh – Harley Graham Architects focuses on low maintenance and robust materials together with the creation of an open and outward feeling from within.

The formal approach takes references from Japanese design, where a minimal sense of restraint and well-proportioned, balanced spaces neatly intercept with one another.

Mona Lane Apartments sits within a coastal setting, where the resulting palette sees selections aimed to both last and patina gracefully, acting as an acknowledgement of context. With the intention to age in place, the home also needed to have an ease of pedestrian access and operate without much intervention. By elevating the home on its site, views are aptly captured and a sense of separation and privacy is created in the process. Key to the sensible insertion on the site is the softening of the landscape elements and their deliberate interaction with the built form, which minimises the overall mass.

Ensuring an easy transition for its owners from a large property with matching acreage to a smaller apartment meant that the engagement between built and living was key. Crafted by Heanes Built, the home avoids the feeling of a typical apartment. While the area of Brunswick Heads is growing in popularity, smaller properties remain favoured – the resulting approach for the Mona Lane Apartments needed to respond accordingly. Integrated water collection and retention systems sit alongside solar energy systems to best optimise the use of available energy and reduce the footprint of the home. Dark timber combines with slight and thin steel members, as openings span entire levels and create the feeling of the façade being pulled away entirely, while a tonally similar palette is used throughout and intended to last.

Key to the sensible insertion on the site is the softening of the landscape elements and their deliberate interaction with the built form, which minimises the overall mass.

Focusing on quality and an inbuilt sense of endurance, Harley Graham Architects has sensitively crafted Mona Lane Apartments, inserting the structure in place and anchoring the form to site.

Published 17 September, 2021
Photography  nson Smart
Photographer :  Michael Nicholson
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