Key Dates

25 February - Launch Deadline
29 April - Standard Deadline
26 August - Final Deadline
9 September - Judging
16 September - Winners Announced
19 October - Awards Presentation


Image Credit : As indicated




Project Overview

In the 1800’s Willoughby was a brick making hub in Sydney with a variety of manufacturers located in the area. The rich tapestry of brick buildings in Willoughby, many of them heritage listed, also pay homage to this era. The Bowery continues the history of considered, well crafted brick buildings in Willoughby based on a deep understanding of context, history and “stitching” together rather than scale and “bling”. In doing so the Bowery addresses a gateway urban corner announcing the commencement of the retail precinct along Willoughby road and establishes the next evolution of buildings in the precinct.
Completed in 2020 The Bowery consists of 17 apartments, small commercial spaces, a common landscape with entertainment space and basement carpark.
The Bowery reinterprets architectural strategies like the brick loggias and colonnade to elegantly resolve the design. These strategies have resolved privacy, acoustic, environmental issues, ventilation, daylight access, hierarchy, materiality and level changes on the site.
These strategies also provide unique and efficient dwellings with “outdoor room” style balconies created that extend the apartment experience to the extremities of the available space on the site. This has created a genuine market differentiator valued at the time of sale.
The apartments are intentionally larger than ADG requirements, are bathed in natural light, contain high ceilings with some split level apartments, warm oak timber flooring , elegant kitchens with European appliances and smart bathroom/ ensuites.

Gardens, substantial balconies and seamless indoor / outdoor spaces from each apartment provide the delight in inhabiting the spaces.

Project Commissioner

MLM pty ltd

Project Creator



Architecture: AJH+
Interior Design: AJH+
Town Planning: Ingham Planning
Structure: Nastasi & Assoc
Mech/ Elec/ Hyd/ Fire: Aiken Design
Acoustics: Koikas Acoustics
Builder: JD Group

AJH+ is an architecture, interior and urban design practice.
We focus on the creation of memorable and engaging built environments that are underpinned by a collaborative and rigorous approach that appreciates the outcomes of our collective endeavours will be our collective legacy.
We aim to improve the well being of the communities where our built environments interact, to improve peoples quality of life and to minimise environmental harm
Beneficial innovation, commercial sensitivities, sustainability and best practice design strategies underpin all projects we passionately undertake
We believe that design excellence can be socially and economically successful. They need not be mutually exclusive
We deliver projects varying in size, scale, budget and combine diverse expertise for property owners, property developers, funds managers and government organisations.

Project Brief

The Willoughby road context has a plethora of outdated and poor performing commercial/ retail building stock. Typically the residential spaces above the ground floor follow the footprint of the retail/ commercial on ground to locate living spaces against the noisy street with no buffer or environmental benefits. The combination of these factors makes both unsuccessful. The Bowery setout to provide a better outcome for both uses flipping their supposed conflicting requirements into a benefit.
The Bowery moves the commercial spaces forward to the street line and turns the corner providing many street entries to the commercial spaces, maximising openings to engage with the street and providing a balcony for the commercial space.
The apartments over are setback as far as possible from the street using distance as the buffer. The main spaces (living/ bedrooms) face this buffer providing a protected external outlook to the apartment. The Bowery is then “wrapped” in varying brick pillars to create an outdoor room balcony akin to a loggia. The outdoor rooms facilitate environmental control and provide an extension of space not typical in the market.
The Bowery successfully responded to the complexity of the south facing site by providing a design response with excellent amenity that created 76% of apartments with Solar Access, 88% with cross ventilation, 50% of apartments adaptable and larger than ADG required balconies. This has resulted in the project being very well received in the market.

Project Innovation/Need

The Bowery challenged the market status quo of conventional apartments, achieving minimum requirements, poor external amenity for apartments and poor commercial spaces.
The Bowery required a unique response due to the constraints, location of the site and desire to differentiate which was used as a catalyst to provide a different offering to the market.
The Bowery is a unique offering to the Willoughby market including:
The location is affected by noise and privacy concerns due to the busy Willoughby road. The response created a Loggia “outdoor room” balcony providing a unique offering to the market of semi enclosed yet open balconies as an extension of internal space. This has been a sought after amenity and attractive to buyers
High variety of apartments in plan and configuration. The variety arises from the requirement to step the building due to the steep nature of the site, to maximise the Environmental (passive) benefits to a south facing site and adaptation of the Loggia balconies to suit their immediate context. The outcome has resulted in 50% of apartments being split level with high ceilings and larger than required varying balconies.
The Bowery includes a large external landscape and entertainment room to seat approximately 20 people providing residents amenity to entertain large groups within their own building. A sought after and unique offering
Commercial spaces along Willoughby road are typically 90-120sqm. The Bowery provides a larger contiguous floor space of approximately 300sqm by consolidating the space to the corner portion of the site

The innovation required was driven by market expectations, a complex site and a full appreciation of the historical context which has resulted in a unique development that is highly sought after and has been very well received by the community.

Design Challenge

The Bowery is a strong statement and feature on the WIlloughy road precinct that was crafted to respond to the challenges of the site, flipping them into a positive outcome for the precinct.
The challenge for the Bowery was to bookend a retail strip with a new building that resolves the broader urban scale whilst appearing comfortable within the existing context.
The solution has resulted in a clear two tier development addressing the corner gateway with the lower levels aligning to the street edge and the upper levels stepping back to address the corner whilst setting a precedent for the handling of bulk and scale in the precinct. The result is modulated, activates the precinct, appreciates its location, context, history and environmental responsibilities whilst anchoring itself to the place.
The Bowery steps across the site to resolve the steepness whilst addressing the corner, providing solar access and is then “wrapped” in a loggia to “stitch” it into its context. The Loggias balconies adjusting to the varying requirements for each of the uses and creating an “outdoor room” for apartments with its subtle enclosure. The Loggias vary and change in dimension responding to the context. The lower levels are more solid providing protection / buffer from sounds, privacy and responding to the brick context. The upper levels are thinner and angles towards the views and corner.
The south facing site required that the apartments turn the corner to capture environmental benefits not possible from pure south facing configurations. This has resulted in large balconies with sunlight acting as extensions of space for all apartments
The Bowery sensitively responded to the challenge of its site whilst strongly responding to its context to create a crafted building that responds well to its context and improves amenity of the precinct and residents.


The Bowery responds to its sustainability responsibilities at all scales.
The Bowery external finishes are robust consisting largely of maintenance free external finishes. The external facades are predominantly brick, steel and painted concrete and reflects the desire to limit ongoing maintenance costs.
The common landscape area has been designed to capture and retain water allowing for its reuse in the site .
The Bowery has been crafted to maximise, on a south facing site, the apartments that receive passive solar access and cross ventilation benefits. The Bowery provides 76% of apartments with solar access exceeding ADG guidelines and provides 88% of apartments with natural cross ventilation. Large than required balconies provide substantial opportunities for resident to include planting on their balconies providing for additional amenity.
The Bowery contains energy efficient appliances, services, fitting and water reduction elements (shower heads, toilets, gas cooktops). Lighting throughout the building is LED and linked to motion detection where appropriate.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.
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