The B Apartments at Bowden project is a socially focussed development model. It is the largest apartment building to be constructed in Bowden at this time and sets the scene for achieving the higher densities and urban model of living that State Government is promoting in Adelaide, which has heretofore been a low density dispersed suburban city.
The apartments occupy a central site in Bowden that has direct relationships with significant features such as Kevin Taylor Park, the Market and the Bowden Village Park. The relationship of the building to these public places has, as a key design principle, influenced the proposed design and planning of the apartments.
Rather than a design strategy that uses a consistent architectural language to developing the entire site, creating a monolithic form - it was agreed that dividing the building into several blocks was more sympathetic with the scale indicated for the surrounding developments. Although it is one building, by notionally dividing the site into several blocks, each with their own architectural character, a diversity of design approaches effectively creates a ‘community of buildings’ that relates to the spirit of the development model.
The key planning principle for defining the arrangement of the building blocks on the site involves a north-south axis through the site that extends the path running through Kevin Taylor Park, through the apartment building south to the markets. This strategy has delivered a natural connection through the development with these public places and has provided a public space sensibility to the corridors and lift lobbies, transforming them into ‘laneways’ and ‘village squares’ vertically stacked in the building. Interpreting this strategy further into the quality of the internal ‘laneway’ and ‘village square’ spaces has led to the application of streetscape urban design principles and the materiality and composition of the external facades to these spaces to reinforce the idea.
Higher-level laneways extend and cantilever out toward the Markets and Kevin Taylor Park to provide opportunity to engage with these spaces. Every effort has been made to maximise the use of the widened internal laneways to provide natural light and ventilation to the apartments.
A rooftop garden is provided on top of the north-west corner block where it takes advantage of its northern orientation and engages with Kevin Taylor Park, effectively adding a 3D civic scale quality to the park.