Urban Habitats Infused with Natural Influences

At high-end build and construct business Urban Habitats, the quality and warmth of their projects are inspired by natural elements. For Director Jock Merrigan and Design Manager Josh Semmler, their brand is driven by one simple philosophy – to create living spaces that capture the joys of life.

Awarded for building excellence since 1997, Urban Habitats is experiencing a new lease of life with a studio planned to open on King William Road.

Starting from a humble premise that spaces should always speak to the natural craft of building a home from timber, stone, glass and metal, Merrigan and Semmler are proud to highlight the importance of creating both intimate and grand details in the homes they help bring to life.

“Utilising natural earthy materials is a feature element of our homes,” Merrigan says. “Materials such as steel, timber and stone are used commonly and are subtle and timeless in appearance which will age gracefully over time. Capturing the connection between the inside and outside spaces is an important design feature.”


At the heart of the business’ design ethos is a constant connection to nature, often with each vista being anchored back into the landscape in one way or another. Semmler says of this idea: “we work with the available aspects within the setting and embrace its outlook,
to bring this inside the building.”

Context is important for the overall aspect of the build, Semmler continues, “… similarly the built form has to respond as a whole in its setting and complement the surrounds. When we achieve this, we also achieve flow of internal and external spaces which is so critical to modern living”.


The design process is something the team is keen to make transparent, emphasising that they encourage as much interaction with clients as possible – to ensure that the end result is something that satisfies the brief.

Over the last few years, Urban Habitats has been involved in building a number of striking residences in South Australia, in collaboration with architects based locally and interstate. One such property is Semmler’s own home in Crafers, which was recently completed. As a showcase of the high level of craft and attention to detailing the business prides itself on, the home bridges traditional and contemporary attitudes to design and building.


Both Merrigan and Semmler are passionate about changing the way they build homes, evident in their zealous and even fanatical attitude towards construction and home design.

“A home, whether it be an addition or a new home, should be designed and built to sit comfortably within its environment,” Merrigan says. “The detailing in our homes are all well considered and used purposely both for function and aesthetics. The detail should speak for itself with the material selected only to enhance the result.”

Urban Habitats will be opening a brand new studio on King William Road in 2017, which will be sure to showcase the materiality and attention to detail they execute throughout all of their builds.


Photos: James Grose

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.