A tall townhouse in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD is drawing attention for all the right reasons. Built on a tiny block with only 81 square metres of usable land, the multipurpose three-bedroom residence and office is made using eight containers, making it the only container high-rise in Adelaide.

Standing proudly in striking contrast to the buildings around it, the home is a unique project in every way, says architect Damien Chwalisz. The design was finalised after three iterations and ongoing negotiations with the council, with the home externally clad in Barestone from Cemintel®.

Damien described the site as “very challenging”, which at 90 square metres, was the smallest plot of land in the Adelaide CBD that had ever been sold. Moreover, they couldn’t use the entire extent of the land to build and had to create a small footprint – a small and slender structure that functions as a home and home office.

Owner-builder Robert van Gorp said he bought the tiny site in Hamilton Place because he wanted to live in the centre of town. However, despite the small building area, he didn’t want to feel like he was living in a cramped space. An important design intent was to create an open space without compromising on privacy. This was achieved through several windows that let light into the house.

In addition to two outdoor deck areas, one off the kitchen living area for the family, and the other on the rooftop for entertaining guests, there’s a portion of the house on the third level that’s cantilevered outside and encased in glass.

Seeking to balance the typical requirements of making the most of the views and orientation, and creating something tough and distinctive, while giving due consideration to the heritage restrictions of the area, architect Damien focussed on selecting the right external cladding for the building. Key requirements for the cladding included high performance characteristics that could withstand the wear and tear of the city; quick and easy installation; and a durable product that didn’t need refinishing or touching up in the future.

Damien says they chose Barestone because it was robust and complemented the abstract form of the house. Being quite matte and non-reflective, Barestone cladding reveals and enhances the form of the building through its texture when it’s detailed correctly.

A prefinished, lightweight cladding system that combines the look of raw cement with easy installation, Barestone comes in 9mm compressed panels coated in Cemintel’s unique CeminSeal technology to prevent water from penetrating into the sheet, and eliminate the need to paint on site, which reduces installation time.

Homeowner Robert says the look, the simplicity, and the insulative properties of the panels were great selling points for Barestone on his project. Being a fan of concrete, he was looking for a natural concrete-look finish in a large format sheet product. Features such as an air pocket between the sheets adding to the insulation, and the top-hat system that the cladding screws to, were also differentiators.

Though initially apprehensive about the neighbourhood’s response to his towering shipping-container home, Robert is now happy with the feedback received so far.