City living has risen to state-of-the-art, new heights in the recently constructed Belvedere Residences situated on Pitts Bay Road right next to the iconic Bacardi International building. Designed by Botelho Wood Architects for West Hamilton Holdings Limited, the building is the first of three planned for the area.
“The owner, recognising that Bermuda’s business hub is quickly being re-centered on this area of Pitts Bay Road, requested us to design a state-of-the-art, mixed-use building that would offer residential options and lifestyle amenities to the many people working in this neighbourhood,” said architect Michael Strohecker. “In keeping with this mandate, the building consists of a gym and fitness centre at ground floor level and basement, along with executive apartments above, offering all the convenience of city living.”
The modern interior of one of the units.
With the construction site mere feet from the Bacardi building, Strohecker says it was only natural to be inspired by them for the overall exterior design of Belvedere. “We drew design inspiration from the neighbouring Bacardi International headquarters building and tried to be a respectful neighbour—including such design elements as the broad horizontal line and large areas of glazing,” he said.
The six-storey, 32,000-square-foot building features nine apartments with generously sized lobbies on each floor and a CourtHouse Squash and Wellness facility on the main floor. Opened last October, the gym consists of 5,900 square feet and includes a squash court, spinning room, fitness centre and locker rooms.
Seven of the apartments are 1,500 square feet each while the other two are 750 square feet and all are contemporary in design. “A Botelho Wood team consisting of myself, Germano Botelho, Lisamarie Masters and Krystal Rodrigues designed the building’s common spaces and apartment and penthouse office interiors,” explained Strohecker. “We utilised large areas of floor to ceiling glass in the apartments to flood natural light to the apartments and take advantage of the surrounding views of the Great Sound.”
With an aim to maximise those views and keep the units feeling “bright and open,” the team were deliberate in their design of the apartment space, said Strohecker. “We used an open plan concept, floor-toceiling windows and generous corner balconies, strategically placed to provide privacy and take advantage of views. We worked closely with the structural engineers at Entech to open up the corners of the building, eliminating obtrusive corner columns.
The entrance of Belvedere Residences is accessible for all.
“One of our favourite design features of the building is the apartmentbalconies and how we were able to keep the corners column free,” he continued. “This allows an uninterrupted view from the interior and gives the building a lighter feeling.”
Naturally, a project of this size will always encounter some challenges. However, through careful engineering the team still managed to create a fully accessible building on the sloping site. A change of mind on the interior design also challenged the architects. “Roughly halfway through construction, the design and layout of the penthouse was changed,” Strohecker said. “This required some significant changes but working with the contractors we were able to make the change with minimal impact to the overall schedule.”
Floor to ceiling glass walls flood the contemporary interiors.
Construction area was also limited due to an area zoned woodland reserve on the northern part of the site, but the firm took this as an opportunity. “As part of the approval process we worked with the Department of Conservation Services to develop a conservation management plan for this area which included removing the invasive species plants and trees and replanting the area with native species,” said Strohecker. Now the tenants have a beautiful, private nature reserve view to compliment the Great Sound views on the other side of their unit.
This careful consideration was not missed by our judges who commented that the “interiors relate to the exteriors extremely well,” and how the entire project was “very well-detailed and extremely well-finished.” They also called the project a very successful and “bold statement.”
The fitness centre features a squash court, spinning room, fitness centre and locker rooms.
Based on the immediate success of this project (all nine units have already been rented or sold), the team is currently working on the design drawings for the next “sister” residential building. A future office building along Pitts Bay Road is also in the cards said Strohecker, who says it will be “one that can compete with Waterloo House.”
Humbly, the architect was quick to commend all the contractors and workers that were ultimately responsible for the success of Belvedere Residences. “The building’s success would not have been possible without the hard work of BCM McApline Ltd., the general contractors, along with BESCO, the MEP contractor, and the many other subcontractors,” he said. “Additionally Tim Berry of Atlantic Building Consultants was the quantity surveyor and integral in keeping the project on time and schedule. It was great to see over 200 local construction workers busy for two years and to those guys we would like to say, thank you!”
The interiors were designed to maximize the Great Sound views.
Strohecker also complimented the team of architects, technologists and consultants at Botelho Wood for the “well thought out and designed building,” along with the planning department who approved a not-so-traditional building. Lastly, he thanked his client, the West Hamilton Board, who had the “vision and confidence” to allow them to design this landmark building.
“The feedback from the client and tenants has been very positive and we look forward to the same results for the next buildings on the site,” concluded Stroh