Stage One of The Lanes Residences, the first mid-rise development being built within the 42-hectare master planned community of The Lakes in Mermaid Waters, a suburb on the Gold Coast, is now complete. Combining coastal living with architectural innovation, The Lanes Residences offers a small, sustainable ecosystem of residences, retail and parkland, and is predicted to be a catalyst for further high-quality, residential development of this scale and density on the Gold Coast.

Name: The Lanes Residences
Location: Mermaid Waters, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Client: Sunland Group
Architect: Contreras Earl Architecture
Landscape Architect: Form Landscape Architects
Structural Engineering: Sellick Consultants
Facade Engineering: Inhabit Group & Anbao, Werner Sobek
Construction: Hutchinson Builders

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Designed by Contreras Earl Architecture in collaboration with Sunland Group, The Lanes Residences is a group of four residential towers that promote sustainable living. The first two completed residential towers balance the future leisure-lifestyle oriented urban retail village and the landscape of Lake Unity, with their fluid architectural language mimicking the land contours and vegetal growth, specifically the plants found at the water’s edge.

The design of the towers showcases Rafael Contreras and Monica Earl’s approach to architecture, as they combine their unique cultural perspectives and international expertise in a boundary-pushing, multidisciplinary global practice based in Australia. They explore creative and avant-garde ideas using advanced technologies and materials, and design buildings and precincts that stand apart as attractive urban landmarks, whilst also providing a soft interface with the surrounding built and natural environment.

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The building structure of The Lanes Residences is expressed in their façades, with an exoskeleton of mitred vertical limbs in glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) that rise to cradle each of the towers and partially shade the faceted glass walls. These in turn animate the exterior, reflecting the sky and enhancing the sculptural forms.

“We are inspired by the form-follows-function geometries in nature. Like in nature, every design feature in The Lanes Residences has a purpose,” says architect Rafael Contreras. “The sculptural façade expresses the scale and faceted volume of the towers and articulates the buildings beside and between each other. The soaring contoured columns on each side of the fully glazed buildings are an eye-catching visual element, but they also provide shading to promote sustainable living.”

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On the lowest levels of the façade, the sculptural columns evoke plants emerging from soil, and they play an important role in articulating the buildings at the ground plane. They also initiate a civic connection between the private residential and the public lakeside and contribute to making the space a vibrant area for residents and visitors.

“At 2-metres deep, the concrete elements are quite monumental at the base of the towers. This starts to fade away physically and visually as they rise, creating an interesting and engaging design for the community,” says Contreras.

The climate-sensitive façade design reduces the heat load across the towers. Each sculpted GRC column is directly connected to the internal apartment configuration, framing the apartment balconies and protecting the building against sun exposure. Further principles of passive design are incorporated into the building to allow the residents to achieve sustainable living in the sunny subtropical climate without the need for artificial cooling. This includes open plan living and maximising the number of openable doors for breeze permeation, and deeply recessed balconies that provide shade and comfortable outdoor living spaces. The proximity of residential to retail will support residents to live more locally, reducing dependency on fossil fuels for transportation.

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Introducing a new height typology to the area, The Lanes Residences sets a new standard of high-quality mid-rise architecture for the city of the Gold Coast.

Monica Earl comments: “Our vision for the Lanes Residences is to create a unique urban ecosystem in Mermaid Waters. The prominent corner position is artfully used to mediate between high-rise along the coast and the low-rise suburbs.

The location brings with it the opportunity to redefine the density of the suburb and to offer a new legibility for the inland urban environment and at the same time create an attractive landmark for the city of Gold Coast.”

Stage One of The Lanes Residences (East Village) comprises 150 properties across a pair of towers (one ten and one twelve-storey) with premium resident facilities, gardens, and retail and commercial spaces providing extensive amenity at ground level. Stage Two (West Village), under construction and anticipated to be complete in 2023, mirrors Stage One with 157 apartments and resident amenities including swimming pool, barbeque terrace, sauna, gymnasium, and resident’s lounge. Each tower in The Lanes Residences comprises 70 to 80 apartments, with a selection of one, two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments and penthouses capturing lakefront, city skyline and hinterland views.

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“Stage One of The Lanes Residences has delivered on its promise of being an architectural vision for the Gold Coast,” says Sunland Group Managing Director Sahba Abedian. “The Gold Coast is experiencing a spike in demand for residential apartments, and The Lanes Residences presents people with an opportunity to secure a home in what will be one of the city’s most attractive lifestyle destinations with unparalleled views in every direction.”

About Contreras Earl Architecture

Contreras Earl work at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, landscape and interiors, designing buildings and precincts to coexist with the built and natural environments, enhancing the human experience, improving our cities.

Rafael was born in Lima, Peru. He completed his Masters of Architecture and Urbanism in London and later worked with Zaha Hadid Architects, leading international teams on competition-winning bids and commissions including the Grand Theatre in Rabat Morocco, Tokyo National Stadium and New Beijing Daxing Airport – the world’s largest airport terminal. He was project architect for landmark residential and mixed-use projects in Australia by Zaha Hadid Architects including Mayfair in St. Kilda (Vic), Grace on Coronation in Toowong (Qld) and Mariners Cove, on the Queensland Gold Coast.

Monica was born in Cairns, Australia, graduating from the University of Sydney, winning the coveted Design Medal from the Australian Institute of Architects. She received the Frank Knox Fellowship to Harvard University, where she completed her Masters of Architecture and Urban Design. In Sydney Monica worked with leading residential practices Tribe Studio and Scale Architecture before moving to London to work with Foster + Partners on the ICD Brookfield Place (Dubai) project, and with Carmody Groarke on the British Museum (exhibition design) and Windermere Jetty Museum in the Lake District.

Together, with a team of international and local collaborators, they challenge conventional thinking in design, construction and city-making, and harness the latest technologies to create climate-resilient architecture where form beautifully follows function, just as in nature.


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