Co-operate (2009 & 2015)
Common Ground was founded by New Yorker Rosanne Haggerty in 1990 as a pioneering movement to address endemic homelessness. The non-profit organization is now the largest developer of supportive housing in the US, its work widely imitated both in the US and abroad. In 2005 and 2006 Rosanne Haggerty spent time in Adelaide as part the South Australian Government’s Thinker in Residence program, leading to the establishment of Common Ground Adelaide. The local program provides market-standard affordable rental housing and allied support services to low-income people and those at risk of homelessness. It is heavily reliant on supporting agencies and sponsors providing resources, materials and services for free to create housing opportunities.
The first Common Ground Adelaide initiative was to take over the empty residential component of the new Central Bus Station in 2007, providing 15 one-bedroom apartments and 24 studio apartments, each with kitchen, bathroom and laundry. The second project involved the refurbishment of an empty heritage building on Light Square and the design and construction of a connecting five-storey apartment building immediately adjacent. Tectvs, a Common Ground sponsor, was designer on the two-building redevelopment.
The wonderfully detailed red brick of the old Sands & McDougall printing warehouse, long empty on the west side of Light Square, was restored to life, fittingly, to provide a foundation for a new life for people who had fallen into homelessness or were heading down the same path. Tectvs created 40 residential units in the heritage-listed four-storey building, providing basic but decent accommodation that addressed the two key requirements of at-risk people – privacy and security. The other function was to provide residents with enough comfort to boost their self-esteem and social rehabilitation, but not enough to discourage them from moving on to more permanent circumstances when they are capable. On the same site, immediately adjacent, Tectvs designed a modest but contemporary five-storey building of 20 residential units, integrated with the heritage building physically and visually through its predominantly red facade. The two-building development also incorporated the head office of Common Ground Adelaide, communal spaces for residents and office space for health, welfare and vocational support services.
Located off Light Square in the Adelaide CBD, the second Common Ground features 52 apartments in a new construction project. Arranged in a rational partitioning of space, the building aims to provide residents with a sense of security in a crowded part of the city. Street art was used to liven the building and enhance the facade, with prominent local artist Vans the Omega painting a welcoming mural on the eastern facade. Quickly after its completion, Common Ground Mellor Street has become a photographer's hotspot within an increasingly active part of the city.