This simple and understated project, designed by Tridente Architects, sits comfortably within this transitional streetscape and provides a glimpse of what is possible in the changing Australian cities. North Adelaide, as for most inner precincts of Australian cities, continues to transform from established older residential building stock to larger and more contemporary commercial buildings. In the case of Melbourne Street the predominant character of single storey buildings has long been under pressure due to the limited commercial accommodation available in close proximity to the adjacent Central Business Precinct. As a direct result the established patterns of narrow sites with stand alone residential buildings providing a mix of both residential and commercial activity is now less desirable; especially given an increasing awareness that consolidation within such existing frameworks offers a more appropriate approach to sustainability and environments more suited to present day usage.
With a 1970’s three storey brick commercial building to the east and a single storey early circa 1900 former residential building to the west this building is more than just a response to the Developers’ brief to maximize the potential of the site within the requirements of the Development Plan.
The building construction, more akin to warehouse construction, is not uncommon for this type of commercial building. The scale of the built form respects both adjacent buildings with the impact of the apparent mass reduced by an applied timber screen layer that, in conjunction with a large established Jacaranda tree, also provides protection from sunlight. Straddling the site, car parking is concealed and the under croft entry visible but understated.
The introduction of this suspended screen wrapping up against the street facade facilitates the transition from the street and reinforces the sense of entry. With timber used in its natural state in conjunction with South Australian Mintaro slate flooring materials previously used in this locality are referenced yet counterpoint the concrete, glass and black painted steel.
Building services are to a commercial standard as required by the current market. Where this building differs from many in this area are in higher levels of thermal insulation, passive solar control offered by the entry screen and in the collection of storm water for re-use. Internally the experience of transition is further highlighted by the ever changing dappled light penetrating the screen coupled with the tenuous balancing of the wrapping structure one walks under to reach the yellow entry door.