The arrival of the Bohem apartments on the corner of Wright and Morphett streets has been an innovative addition to the skyline and streets of Adelaide. More than one year on after completion, Bohem has completely reinvigorated Whitlam Square and its surrounds. And it’s all thanks to the coordinated team effort of Starfish Developments, Enzo Caroscio Architecture, Maxcon builders and Tract landscape architects.
What’s so refreshing about these 220 one, two and three bedroom apartments, set over 23 levels, is that being on a corner site, every apartment has natural light and great views over either the city or Whitlam Square Park. And on level 6, a Sky Garden features an abundance of green plantings, stunning city views, an outdoor kitchen with timber tables and seating, viewing ledges, a gym and lap pool. As Enzo Caroscio, Architect, Enzo Caroscio Architecture, says, “If you’ve got light and outlook, and a nice lobby and amenity, it’s a great place to live for people who don’t spend much time at home and want the convenience of the city.”
But, it’s the magnificent articulated façade dominating Bohem’s spectacular design that’s created real excitement. Enzo wanted to design a building that fitted in with the surrounding material concept – using natural materials – didn’t look too new and shiny, and featured a distinct a play on scale. This is where Enzo’s creative genius really shone through. “Bohem is a tall building for the area. So, we wanted to create smaller elements of a building to create a big building, so it was all about the pushing and pulling of form and the brick and concrete surrounds to the apartments to create the smaller scale,” Enzo explains.
On top of that, there was also a simple brief from Starfish: To transition the landscape across the street to the building. This saw Enzo and Tract Landscape Architecture working together to introduce planters and a 22 metre vertical hanging garden – the first of its kind in South Australia – to the architecture. By integrating plants into the building, Bohem can essentially ‘grow’ with the landscape.
The entire approach works practically and aesthetically. “The layering of brick, concrete and steel to the facades is complementary to the lower scale surrounding context, and the integration of vertical landscaping links the building to the adjacent park,” Enzo comments.
Precast concrete and brick are the dominant materials, commencing with a brick inlay façade of Midnight Blue brick tiles for the first five storeys on the south side, creating continuous planter beds. This continues higher up with a similar brick inlay facade used on the balcony surrounds up to level 16.
“I love precast, and Adelaide has some of the best precasters in Australia. We spoke to Bianco Precast and used Robertson Facade Systems’ brick inlay, with Midnight Blue brick tiles – and I just love the finish of them. The brick tiles are really earthy and have a warmth to them that fits in with the concrete and with the surrounding brick cottages,” Enzo says.
From level 16 onwards, exposed precast render and fully fire tested aluminium composite panels complete the façade. And what a spectacular result it is. Enzo was particularly happy that the final product looked just as good as the original marketing renders. “I love the materiality of the building, the bricks and the precast concrete – they define the building as being very different to the usual glass or curved wall residential towers you often find. It just fits in well with the materiality and, hopefully, although the scale is big for now, with the growth of the city we’ve set a new precedent for what apartment living really can be,” Enzo concludes.
Bohem has certainly altered Adelaide’s landscape for the better, and will forever be seen as not only a building to set a new precedent, but one – as the materials and landscape age –that is ever-changing and becomes even more beautiful with time.
Developer: Starfish Developments
Landscaping: Tract Landscape Architecture
Photography: Peter Fisher