Samara and Maple

stealth road gardening and sharing jokes and memes on Slack
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Bowden
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Tell us a little about who lives in your Nightingale home.

I work at a university. I'm also a writer and an illustrator. I come from an arts-writing background; my interest is the crossover of emerging technologies and the arts. For example, experimental sound design. Also AI is looking pretty interesting right now. 

I also write haiku. I did a year-long haiku project on Instagram a little while back, which was quite an undertaking. I'm looking at publishing that.

It's just me in my loft apartment - and the star of the show, Maple the whippet. 

What appealed to you about the Nightingale approach, and how did you come to live at Nightingale Bowden?

The Nightingale community plus the eco-centric design was really important to me. I have a big interest in sustainable design.

As I've been following the Nightingale story, which is such a unique investment in culture-building and community-building, one of the major draw cards was the investment of our strata fees in paying the rent. I was so happy to be a part of a project that even thought about that. 

And another thing: there are some outdated legacy strata laws in Adelaide that mean that whatever is affordable - which is usually units - doesn't accommodate owning a pet. So the other properties I’d been looking at that were in my price range, I couldn't actually necessarily bring my dog into. They were a really bad fit.

I was too frightened to ballot for Nightingale Bowden at first. I wasn't ready to let go of my car, to be honest. Then several apartments came up after the ballot, and I thought, ‘This is a sign. I really have to go for this.’ So I did. I put my name down and eagerly waited for the call… then I didn't get an apartment. But then someone pulled out at the last minute, and weirdly it was actually my first choice of apartment, and I was next in line. So I got the call, and I thought, ‘This is magical.’

You live in a SOHO apartment, which is a typology that Nightingale has included in several recently-completed projects. What do you think of your apartment design?

For a one-bedroom loft apartment it's got an incredible sense of space. There’s beautifully balanced light. The cross ventilation is incredible. Aesthetically it's lovely. The materiality is really lovely. 

One of the great things - if you're an artist, slash writer, slash work-from-home person - is that they've quite ingeniously designed the kitchen bench so that it doubles as a desk. So you have a dual purpose workspace / hospitality space. 

There are some tiny house hacks, but then lots of light, airy spaciousness as well. It's a really good combination. 

What has been your experience of creating community at Nightingale Bowden?

I felt like there was a ready-made community before I moved in. We were sharing jokes and memes on Slack for a long time, and talking a lot about how we'd like to move forward. It was great having all of that guidance that [Nightingale Communities team members] Toby and Kat provided - which was always very suggestion-based, never directive - about how we might like to do things.

We've got plenty of gardeners. Some of us do like a bit of stealth road gardening, so we'll probably not be confined to the boundaries of Nightingale. We really want to green up as much as we can. 

I think we do have a really strong spirit of investment in the place. I don't know if it's the way Nightingale runs, but it just seems to have drawn together such lovely, community-minded people.

What are your favourite aspects of living in Bowden?

The location is so convenient. I can get a free tram to the markets. It's a glorious 15-minute bike ride along the river to my work. It's just so brilliantly situated for people that don't want to drive a car. There are incredible cafes and restaurants and pop-up bars, and it's such a fun place to live.

I'm right across the footbridge from a fantastic little cafe called The Loose Caboose. It's also incredible living close to Plant 4, where I can wander in and get dumplings or vegan doughnuts.

Anything else you’d like to add?

This is an affordable housing project. I think it has demonstrated that you can do affordable housing that is sustainable, and I hope more building projects look at how you can build communities, rather than just sell square meterage off the plan. I think Nightingale and Housing Choices Australia and Renewal SA - everyone who's been involved in this project has demonstrated that we can do it better.

Find out more about
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Bowden
First published in
March 2023