The client’s initial architectural brief for Bowen & Queens in Melbourne was simply to deliver quality design that reflects the ways in which we live; to consider carefully how it is that residents will move through a space.
With that, David Shen of Wuzhong Australia briefed the Architects – Plus Architecture – to deliver spaces with abundant natural light, and to make the most of the views.
Although how this brief developed from there, Shen says was particularly interesting, “We were initially simply looking at what makes good design and thinking about how people will move through and use each space. But this led us to look at practices of Feng shui. The two dove-tail, and so this made for an interesting design process.”
Lead architect Jessica Liew considered the five elements of Feng shui, which are metal, earth, fire, wood, and water. All of these are included in both the building design and the site’s surrounds and vistas, while the water views over Albert Park lake were maximised as water views are prized for Feng Shui devotees.
But there is not a one-size-fits-all for Feng shui design. Feng shui does however intend to be practical and bring a feel-good factor to designed spaces. Inspired by nature’s golden ratio and natural forms such as the nautilus shell, the Bowen & Queens finishes are considered, and give a sense of warmth and tactility. Interiors feature beautiful natural woods, stone and marble.
Jessica Liew says “A striking building, Bowen & Queens is a site-specific design inspired by the mores of Feng Shui. Inspired by these natural geometries, the curves in the buildings structure interplay dynamically with the reflective glass. This is articulated in the vertical plane of the façade, reinforcing an organic scalloped geometric motif.”
Addressing the practical are details such as the curved kitchen benchtops which are safer for children who run around a home as they won’t bang their heads on a sharp benchtop.
Another tradition in Feng shui is for a balanced colour scheme with lighter colours on top, and darker colours below, something that is included throughout the dwellings of Bowen & Queens with white ceilings, transitioning down to dark floorboards.
Another nod to this thousand-year old Chinese tradition is the dip at the foyer entrance to the building. The Chinese tradition to bow upon entering a building as a sign of respect to both the building and those who live there. The dip at the entrance is an adaptation of this say the architects.
Asked whether principles of Feng shui will feature in future Wuzhong projects David Shen says, “It’s likely that we will consider Feng shui in future projects. It’s been an interesting process and a way to check that we are delivering quality homes that will be loved by residents for decades to come.”