Vacant land in the commercial heart of Port Adelaide was the focus of plans to bring new life to the area by developing a quality ‘contemporary lifestyle’ townhouse precinct following the success of similar developments in urban Adelaide, especially in the inner-city. The Anchorage development needed to offer a quintessentially Port Adelaide townhouse experience if it was to encourage the target market of young professionals and empty-nesters to look beyond the already-established modern-living enclaves in the city and on the metropolitan coast.
The site fronted the main artery to the Port, Commercial Road, and was also bounded by historic Lipson Street, Charlotten Street and Godfrey Street. The surrounding streetscape was a mixed bag of time and place broken up by empty lots, with only two buildings of size and significance – Morello Apartments, of brick and timber construction, and a Uniting Church in timber and bluestone. The continuous verandas of Commercial Road provided another design clue of contextual value. Tectvs was asked to create a contemporary lifestyle statement in the context of this gap-toothed mix of form and character.
The design philosophy was to encapsulate a lifestyle tailored to each specific location on the site: a sense of place which varied significantly from house to house. The Commercial Road frontage was designed to reflect the dominant characteristics of the neighbouring building facades and verandas. Tectvs worked with a Port Adelaide council-appointed heritage architect to incorporate other elements representative of different periods of infill development along Commercial Road.
On Lipson Street the smaller-scale buildings, vacant land and train museum were considerations. The Uniting Church and its grounds ran the length of quiet Charlotten Street, while busy and commercial Godfrey Street provided the logical entry to the development and a reference for increased building height in the taller profile of Morello Apartments. Tectvs resolved to specify the materials that characterised the area – brick, predominantly red; bagged or textured treatments; sections of stone, polished block or tiles; clear-finished timber and unfinished metal.
The exterior design was articulated to provide visual variety and identifying features for occupants; a similar rationale provided a small setback court at the entry to the townhouses to reduce the overall scale at street level and enable each to be framed and detailed by a variety of fencing structures and materials. The four street frontages allowed Tectvs to vary dwelling heights according to the streetscape; it created an internal streetscape by orientating townhouse balconies to look over a network of private lanes and central landscaped area.