Building Insider: Timeless Architecture with Anna Dutton Lourie, Co-Director of Bower Architecture & Interiors

At Fortem Projects, we believe collaborating with those who are experts in their craft deliver the best results. Since partnering with Bower Architecture & Interiors on our Fawkner Street, South Yarra project in 2018 we have built a strong relationship with the multi-award-winning Melbourne-based design practice.

In this month’s Building Insider, we sit down with Anna Dutton Lourie, Co-Director of Bower Architecture & Interiors, about the best way to create timeless spaces in homes people love to live in.

What, in your opinion are the key ingredients that makes a truly timeless space?

Creating timeless architecture and interiors is an ambition we believe is best delivered by a multi-faceted approach to designing and building. Classic spaces come from architectural skill and experience, and when we collaborate with Fortem Projects, we work with skilled experts to bring our designs to life. This way, we know our clients will be delighted with the results.

Over time, we’ve determined key elements we love to add to every project to bring timeless appeal. These include the following.

• Spaces that are elegantly proportioned and appropriate to human scale – not too big, and not too small. The wonder of a high ceiling is emphasised by a moment of ‘contraction’ elsewhere in the journey through the architecture.

• Views to the sky, a beautiful outlook and connections to landscape create moments that make you feel good. Architecture that invites daylight in wintertime and shades the interior spaces in summer keeps the space at a constant temperature and allows for good air flow.

• Considered, smooth and super-easy functionality for each client is our design priority, and Fortem Projects understand building methods that maximise this. Many of our clients intend to stay in their home forever, and we ensure we cater to their life stages with thoughtful design in every area of the home, including bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.

• Designs that avoid transient fads and fashions, opting for robust, quality materials and excellent construction by partners such as Fortem Projects.

• Considered and elegant detailing makes for a timeless home. Considering scale, proportion, and how elements work together are a passion of ours. There is nothing more luxurious than something well-crafted, considered, and elegant, with a sense or permanence.

• Sustainability partners with timelessness, and that’s something both Bower Architecture and Fortem Projects work to achieve.

What process do you go through to discern what gives a home ‘longevity’ for each client?

Our favourite parts of our job are getting to know our clients, and then designing and delivering homes that are specific to them, that they love. The Bower process has been honed over more than 17 years of designing homes loved by our clients, and this assists us in deeply listening and understanding what their needs and hopes are now and, in the future, for their home.

How much builder-architect collaboration is required to deliver a Bower Architecture home that stands the test of time?

Excellent craftsmanship and quality construction is essential in creating a home that lasts. We love how the Fortem Projects team take time to pay attention to our thinking, as well as the details our clients want for both now and the future. Fortem Projects develop a thorough understanding of our design intent and the reasons behind it through their open and consistent communication during the entire process. We collaborate with them and welcome their experienced and expert suggestions around enhancing the homes’ details and the methods engaged to bring these to life.

How do you create a true sense of ‘home’ that will evolve and endure with your client’s changing needs and lifestyle?

 Engaging an architect to create your home is investing in quality design and the long-term joy and value that good architecture brings. Our design ethos focuses on a number of key elements we believe are the keys to creating a home that will endure with our clients changing needs and lifestyle. We then engage with experienced partners, including Fortem Projects, to bring these designs to life.

We begin by listening to our client’s needs to understand what makes them unique. We then nurture the creation of spaces tailored to them considering their lifestyle journeys on macro and micro levels.

We create architecture deeply connected to place, taking the time to understand the size, shape, orientation of the block.

As Architects and Interior Designers, we consider how aspects come together to create a seamless flow between spaces and environments. We are also keenly interested in landscape and outdoor rooms and spaces that play an essential part of the designed environment to create a timeless home.

Many of our clients are drawn to us because of our approach to sustainability and we collaborate with like-minded partners, such as Fortem Projects, to ensure sustainability remains central to the brief. Sustainability starts with building quality that lasts the long term. We make the most of natural elements such as natural ventilation and passive heating and cooling. We carefully plan shading and thermal mass to create stable indoor temperatures. Maximising durability and using local, sustainably, and ethically sourced materials and products whenever possible is a given.

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If you’re looking to build a beautifully designed and sustainable home, we’d love to talk with you. Contct us today to get started.

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