by Jerry ElengicalMar 29, 2022
Overlooking Mermaid Beach on Australia’s Gold Coast, 272 Hedges is a new luxury residential tower developed by Sunland Group in association with Sydney-based firm Contreras Earl Architecture, with the latter handling the design of the sculptural pedestal it sits on described as a piece of “urban art.” Inspired by sinuous impressions left by wind and water on the beach sand, the skyscraper’s fluid form rises 44 storeys over its coastal surroundings, as its base conceals an elemental journey for all who enter it. Realised in stainless steel, this section of the structure mediates the overwhelming size of the tower as a whole, as an element that is more relatable to the human scale.
The team at Contreras Earl Architecture mentions in a statement, “The brief was to create an amazing spatial experience. The pedestal design does that by bringing a human scale to the project, and creating an exquisite sculptural connection with the surrounding streetscape and parklands.” They continue, “Inspired by the natural forces in play at the project’s coastal location, the subtly curving semi-reflective exterior façade resembles the crests and erosion effects of wind on sand, while its interior creates the illusion of a rock cave naturally eroded by the ocean.”
“Parallels between nature and architecture are an important part of our design ethos and work. We believe that nature has solved many of the design challenges that we come across, and it is through curiosity and analysis of biology and natural systems that we also find inspiration and solutions in architecture. This is made possible through technology and innovation in fabrication practices available today,” relays the firm. Computational parametric design was essential to the pedestal’s development, in order to hone in on the complex forms that constitute it.
Delineating the shift from coastline to an urban edge, the pedestal's unique geometries foster a fluid progression from interior to exterior. Reminiscent of windswept wave crests and eroded sand banks, the chiselled exterior envelope softly mirrors its surroundings serving as a screen for impressions that play across its semi-reflective stainless steel surfaces. Rising from its upper extent, the tower's main shaft features undulating floor plates with glass railings that enclose balconies running along the perimeter of each level. The skyscraper's architectural form features a double-height terrace midway along its rise, providing a break from the rhythm of the curved levels defining its ascent.
Beyond the landscaped lawn and pathway preceding it, the pedestal forms an arched entryway, whose glass enclosure bulges outwards perpendicular to the curved trajectory of the steel. Inside, a cavernous sequence of spaces finished in concrete, provide an apt counterpoint to the exterior. “Residents will experience a breathtaking welcome as they enter the tower’s lobby from Hedges Avenue, and the general public will enjoy the beautifully detailed addition to the public realm that culminates at the end of Hedges Avenue and transitions to the Broadbeach precinct,” note the architects. They add, “The fluid and seamless progression from outside to inside is a unique spatial experience for residents and visitors. Upon arrival, residents are greeted by a grand foyer of sweeping voids and illuminated arches.”
Eloquent lighting design throughout the lobby enhances the muted interior design, where walls and ceilings meld into one through sweeping curves, vaults, and archways. Strip lights accent their ridgelines, adding drama to the scene. Refined furnishings in the lounge spaces occupy one side of the lobby while the other is occupied by the reception and concierge desk. The concierge desk realised in stainless steel is a sculptural centrepiece within the lobby, typifying the polished detailing seen throughout this semi-public zone.
Storage spaces, offices, restrooms, meeting rooms, a resident lounge, and a dining and function area lie past the foyer, all accessible from the lift lobby which is a more private space concealed from public view. Amenities are an essential component of this venture in luxury design, accommodated on the upper level of the pedestal. Crowned by a vaulted ceiling, the building's 15-metre swimming pool is followed by a spa - both placed on the north-facing edge of the plan. The two spaces feature large glass openings that overlook a garden terrace with views of coastal parklands in the tower's vicinity. Textured walls, terrazzo flooring, and accent lighting characterise the ambience of these zones.
Aside from this, the residential design also hosts a gym, sauna, a steam room, and treatment rooms on this floor. Luxury housing units occupy much of the floor area above, constituting the majority of the program. Afforded serene views of the coastal surroundings from the extensive balcony spaces, the tower's design is a holistic high-end living experience that is still well attuned to its context.
Name: 272 Hedges Avenue Pedestal
Location: Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Year of Completion: 2022
Client: Sunland Group (Developer)
Architect: Sunland Group, Contreras Earl Architecture (Pedestal)
Landscape Architect: Form Landscape Architects
Façade Engineering: Werner Sobek, CIG
Manufacturing: CIG (Netherlands)
Lighting Consultant: Artec 3 & FPVO
Planning Consultant: Zone Planning Group
Builder: Hutchinson Builders