With the ‘Mermaid Multihouse’, Australian design studiosPartners Hill and Hogg & Lamb present an investigation into multi-generational living. 

The collection of spaces are accessed by external arcades rather than internal corridors while the combinations of guest rooms, living spaces, studios and offices are organised more as an urban model of inner city lanes than a suburban model of isolated houses. 

The completed scheme continues the research work by the practice in multi-generational, multi-use ‘dwellings.’ 

In this case a typical suburban budget facilitates two places for the singular investment; one for a mother and one for a son. 

All up, six individual rooms can serve multiple purposes through multiple phases of life and work. 

The contextual commitment is to the suburbs; the sites of villas which could be occupied densely, diversely and with continuous usefulness.

Partners Hill and Hogg & Lamb construct the ‘Mermaid Multihouse’ primarily from bespoke masonry along the exterior. 

Located along a suburban lot in Australia, the duplex speaks to the ethos of its context while pushing the technological practicalities of its breeze block materiality. 

The entire façade is porous and ventilated, self-weathering, self-securing and light-moderating. 

Together with its practical capabilities, the breeze blocks serve not only as a screen plane but a fully composed villa facade. 

The design team chooses screen-work to express the façade as breeze block is a fondly remembered element of the gold coast.

The house can be co-occupied by two generations with appropriate privacy and scope for their own lives. the occupants — and man and his elderly mother — represent a generous section of the Australian demographic. 

The organisational type lends itself to reuse in other settings with appropriate modelled facades. 

Critical to achieving optimisation of systems and the market-competitive budget was the involvement of the builder during construction documentation. 

Specialist engineering was required to ensure the front block-work screen would meet current codes that are very restrictive regarding the capacity of load-bearing masonry.