|Bentel Associates International designs unique mixed-use development
The mixed-use development at Bedford Square has been the vision of developers Raymond and Budwa Abrosie of Bedford Square Properties (Pty) Ltd for many years.
Bentel Associates International has designed this upmarket venture at Bedford Square, in Bedfordview east of Johannesburg. The international company is one of South Africa’s most diversified and innovative architectural firms offering complete commercial architectural services, with special emphasis on complex, mixed-use developments.
The R800-million Mediterranean themed complex will provide prestigious residential, business, recreational and retail facilities in one of the most exclusive suburbs in the country. Previously the site of an old mine dump, the development on the corner of Smith and Kirkby roads is situated across the road from the Bedford Gardens Shopping Centre.
“With upmarket premium shopping, entertainment, office, hotel and residential facilities Bedford Square will be the embodiment of a multi-faceted urban village, both respecting and enhancing the surrounding town and environment”, says Nick Kyriacos, BAI project director. “Our clients, the Abrosie brothers, specifically wanted to create a Mediterranean village environment with a real sense of community life.”
Although the entire complex features a Mediterranean theme, the Bentel team has designed each node with its own distinct character and features. The piazza for example, will have ancient Mediterranean design accents.
The 160 000 m2 complex is being developed in three phases and will include a 7 000 m² boutique hotel, 15 000 m² of retail shops, cinemas and restaurants, 54 000 m² four-level parking basement, 17 000 m² of office space and 30 000 m² of apartments.
An unusual addition will be a 150-seat Maronite Catholic Church with a strong sense of history. The church will incorporate altars, pews and other items from a 100-year old defunct Maronite Catholic Church in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. A live-in priest will conduct daily services.
The heart of this development will be the central piazza. “As part of the concept we have included a large congregation area in the form of a European-style village square or piazza,” says Darryl Skinner, BAI project architect. “The square will be the focal point of the village where a sense of community and the outdoor environment can be enjoyed. A retractable roof incorporated into the design will enable the piazza to be utilised in all types of weather.
The entire complex will be fully integrated and the design includes pathways and walking areas that will link the respective components of the project thereby creating create a unique, pedestrian-friendly area in a village atmosphere.”
Phase One of the development was completed last year and consists of a cluster of luxurious townhouses featuring classic Mediterranean style architecture and finishes. “We have designed a staggered roofline and the facade of the townhouses has been created to appear as a collection of different buildings,” says Nick Kyriacos.
The units range from 140m2 to 330m2 and are finished in classic or contemporary style; the quality finishes include marble and wooden floors, and granite and marble kitchen tops.
The second phase, currently underway, consists of three five-storey apartment buildings with 108 luxury apartments. Phase Three includes the 150-room, hotel, the church, a health hydro, the retail centre and related recreational components as well as the commercial office space.
An increasing number of mixed-use developments are emerging in upmarket areas. The features within a mixed-use village are mutually beneficial to both commercial and residential occupants and result in more integrated communities by affording residents and employees the opportunity to live, work, and conduct business within the village area, thereby minimising the need for transport.
“A fully mixed-use village is a relatively new concept in Gauteng. The unique design and attention to detail of this prestigious development will ensure that Bedford Square will be an excellent example of an exclusive and completely self-contained village in an urban environment,” says Darryl Skinner.
Bedford Square will be fully operational by the middle of 2007. Residents and visitors will discover a vibrant village with a streetscape of speciality retail and restaurant establishments, along with luxury residential, office and hotel accommodations. Buildings of varied size and scale with fine architecture and quality finishes will line the piazza and define warm and inviting communal spaces.
Bedford Square - a unique lifestyle with a strong emphasis on a real sense of community - it will be the perfect place to live, work, worship, shop, and relax.
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