Meet the man championing good design at Bowden

25 Nov 2019


Award-winning architect and urban designer Lu Balsamo (pictured) has taken up the helm of Bowden’s Design Review Panel as its new chairperson.

The role of the Panel is to oversee the design quality of all new development within the project to ensure that it is innovative, sustainable and in keeping with the design intent established for Bowden.

Lu is joined by continuing Panel member Susan Philips, Director of Phillips/Pilkington Architects, as well as incoming Panel member, Richard Stranger, Director of Planning and Design at Renewal SA.

This expert trio of built environment specialists will continue the work of the inaugural Design Review Panel that was established in 2011, comprising outgoing Chair, Keith Cottier, and fellow outgoing members Kirsteen Mackay, Fran Bonato and Rachel Hurst.

The Bowden Design Review Panel is chiefly responsible for providing independent expert advice on the architectural design of all homes, businesses and other built structures that are proposed within the Bowden precinct, and to ensure that this development contributes to the safety, wellbeing and community-mindedness of the neighbourhood as a whole.

“Bowden has two great advantages over other urban infill projects in Adelaide,” says Lu.

“Firstly, the Bowden Design Review Panel gets involved on day one of every new development proposal, long before council approval is sought.

“This enables the Panel to work collaboratively with developers and architects at the earliest possible opportunity and achieve a consistently high level of design excellence and innovation across the project.

“Secondly, Bowden is being developed according to an over-arching masterplan, not in a piecemeal fashion, which allows us to apply a level of thought and detail to every corner of the precinct, so that it functions as a collective neighbourhood and has enduring appeal for future generations.”

The first job of the new Panel will be to review and refresh Bowden’s Urban Design Guidelines and ensure that specific guidelines are created for the development of the Bowden Heritage Precinct, formerly the Brompton Gasworks site.

“I am really excited about joining the Bowden Design Review Panel and having the opportunity to help Bowden grow as an inclusive, liveable neighbourhood that values community, nature, Adelaide’s industrial past and above all, lifestyle choice,” Lu says.

About Lu Balsamo

Lu Balsamo has more than 45 years of experience in architecture and urban design. A former Principal of HASSELL, Lu has worked across the defence, education, healthcare, performing arts, retail and urban planning sectors. He currently sits on two other Design Review Panels.

Some of his past projects in South Australia include the original masterplans for Bowden Urban Village and Tonsley Innovation District; Adelaide Festival Centre; Women’s and Children’s Hospital; and Royal Adelaide Hospital.

He has also been involved as a lead architect for the Adelaide Airport T1 Expansion Concepts;

Harbour Town Developments; Adelaide Aquatic Centre; ASC shipbuilding and submarine facilities at Osborne (SA) and Henderson (WA); Warradale Barracks Redevelopment; and major upgrades to the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Dunstan Playhouse.

Lu believes that the key to good urbanism is adaptable design that can support changes in lifestyle and give people choice in the way they use and enjoy spaces. He encourages the adaptive re-use of historic and industrial buildings and the application of architectural innovation to enhance wellness, community and environmental sustainability.

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