News / March 2015
Friday 27 March 2015
2015 HASSELL Travelling Scholarship rewards innovation

Going where few landscape architects have gone before has landed Christie Stewart from the University of Western Australia the HASSELL Travelling Scholarship – Robin Edmond Award.

The landscape architecture student threw out the rule book and adapted emerging methodologies and technologies not typically used in her profession to address the sustainability challenges facing broadacre farmers in Western Australia’s wheat belt. The prize gives her the opportunity to travel and immerse herself in places significant to furthering her studies.

Christie knows first-hand that for farmers the health of the land is both their livelihood and identity. Using her family’s farm in the Wongan-Ballidu Shire as a test case, Christie aimed to secure long-term farming viability by modifying farming practices and restoring natural processes to increase yield while improving the health and resilience of the land.

Her landscape strategy combined GIS (geographic information systems) mapping, precision agriculture methodology and an iterative design approach to address the sources of degradation in the farm and the regional landscape.

HASSELL Head of Landscape Architecture, Angus Bruce said: “Christie’s connections to the land came across strongly in her research, which stood out for so boldly and passionately tackling a challenge of huge importance.

“We were also impressed by the innovative way Christie integrated techniques that aren’t generally used by landscape architects to get the best outcomes for her project.”

Christie is excited about the prospect of travelling to expand upon her awarded research project, Ameliorating Agriculture: Cultivating Biodiversity.

“Thanks to the HASSELL Travelling Scholarship I’ll be able visit Precision Agriculture in Queensland and get a first-hand understanding of the breadth and application of the agricultural technology available,” she said.

“I’m also hoping to visit other agricultural properties that are successfully sustaining natural biodiversity to see how owners manage to heal their land and remain viable.”

The HASSELL Travelling Scholarship – Robin Edmond Award is an annual award that recognises graduating landscape architecture students who show outstanding potential for future contribution to the profession. HASSELL thanks the students and universities that participated in the 2014/15 scholarship program. The overall quality of submissions was exceptional – a sign of the many talented new designers entering the landscape architecture profession.

Click here to download the project abstract. For a high-res version, please email Carolina Arantes at carantes@hassellstudio.com.

Imagery by Christie Stewart/Portrait by Paul Verity

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Friday 27 March 2015
Green buildings: Getting more to give more

Business leaders are too conservative when it comes to investing in healthy buildings and workplaces. It’s an attitude that the building industry must do more to change, said leading green design architect and researcher Professor Vivian Loftness.

Visiting Melbourne from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Professor Loftness emphasised the positive effects of high performance, green buildings and said that the conversation with business decision makers needed to change to better promote these health and productivity impacts.

“It’s not always better to have spent less on a building,” said Professor Loftness, who outlined the power of implementing a triple bottom line that placed equal value on the financial, environmental and human benefits of good design choices.

“Using the triple bottom line calculation, it’s the third bottom line – people – that might just be the one to tip decision makers over the line to invest in better buildings. They need to see the true value of low carbon, high performance buildings.”

Professor Loftness was speaking at the HASSELL Melbourne studio at a Green Cities 2015 Conference debriefing workshop. The event was hosted by HASSELL in partnership with Brookfield Multiplex and AECOM, the key industry partners of the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s Closing the Loop Project.

The Closing the Loop Project aims to educate business on the various elements that make up a high performance building.

As well as presenting at Green Cities 2015, Professor Loftness toured Medibank’s new head office in Melbourne’s Docklands, designed by HASSELL to be one of the healthiest workplace in the world.

“The Medibank building is an excellent example of business leaders seeing the value of spending more to get more from their building to give more to their employees,” she said.

In pulling together the research and evidence of academics and industry experts like Professor Loftness, the Closing the Loop Project can provide clear evidence-based strategies for the next generation of workplaces, schools and hospitals, said Brett Pollard, Head of Knowledge and Sustainability at HASSELL.

“The Closing the Loop project will continue to work with academic experts like Professor Loftness to increase the public promotion of high performance buildings to have a positive long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of the people who inhabit our buildings, towns and cities,” said Brett.

Vivian Loftness
 
Thursday 26 March 2015
Students given the entrepreneurial edge

Students at Flinders University, South Australia are being encouraged to ‘think like an entrepreneur’ with the opening of its $120 million state-of-the-art teaching and research facility designed by HASSELL.

The six-storey 16,000 square metre Flinders at Tonsley building unites education, innovation, business and commercial start-up ventures in one precinct, giving students firsthand experience of industry and helping stimulate economic growth in the region.

Speaking at the official opening of Flinders at Tonsley, the University’s vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the new development brought together the sharpest minds, boldest researchers and proven business leaders under one roof to spark innovation and drive new business opportunities.

Flinders at Tonsley collocates the University’s School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, with the Flinders Medical Device Research Institute and Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology. It is also a hub for entrepreneurs and next-generation start-ups through the New Venture Institute (NVI), which runs programs, mentors and helps the next generation of ideas to become reality.

HASSELL Principal Chris Watkins said the integration of teaching, learning, research and social spaces was critical to fostering the collaborative environment sought by the university.

“Flinders University is forging connections between academia research and industry entrepreneurship,” said Chris.

“Teaching and learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, research doesn’t just happen in the laboratory or at one’s desk, discussions don’t just happen in meeting rooms, and “work” doesn’t just happen in an office.

“The design responds to this by providing a simple, flexible structure that promotes interaction, connection and exchange between all its occupants – students, teaching staff, researchers and private industry – to encourage sharing of ideas, cross-discipline innovation and create new business and economic opportunities.”

Flinders at Tonsley news image
 
Friday 13 March 2015
Perth Stadium station design revealed

The next stage of the new Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct in Western Australia has begun with the HASSELL designed train station revealed to public.

The Perth Stadium station design complements the Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct, also designed by HASSELL in collaboration with Cox Architecture and HKS Sport + Entertainment.

The Western Australian Transport Minister Dean Nalder described the Perth Stadium Station as a modern and vibrant piece of infrastructure.

“The new station will allow for a train to leave the station every few minutes after a capacity-event crowd and will feature three island platforms with six platform faces for passenger loading,” he said.

“Aesthetically, the colour will complement the design of the new Perth Stadium, which has a striking bronze coloured façade. A wide roof reaches out from the enclosed concourse to protect passengers from the weather. Public art will also be incorporated into the final design.”

HASSELL Associate John-Paul Davies said the station was designed to give people using it the best possible experience.

“When designing the station we considered the part it plays in the overall ‘event’ experience. We worked closely with the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia to ensure the operational planning will maximise ease of use for patrons,” John-Paul said.

“The internal experience was designed to be enjoyable for users, with a bronzed interior skin creating an inviting atmosphere and a visually interesting texture.”

The design for the area surrounding the stadium is inspired by the cultural stories of Indigenous Australians and the bronze design component reflects the unique geology of Western Australia. It will have three distinct recreational spaces encouraging use by the community all year round. 

Construction of the sporting and recreation precinct surrounding the stadium will be completed in April 2018 in time for the start of that year’s Australian Football League season.

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Thursday 12 March 2015
South West Rail Link opens to public and government applause

The South West Rail Link in Sydney, Australia has opened to an enthusiastic travelling public. The 13.2 kilometre rail line supports the development of sustainable communities in one of Sydney’s major growth centres.

HASSELL developed the reference and concept design for the link which will address congestion and meet the evolving needs of commuters.

As part of the South West Rail Link project, HASSELL also designed two new stations, Edmondson Park and Leppington.  

Both stations are the focus of the local town centre, with the rail line placed in a cutting so it does not physically divide the centre.

At the opening of the rail link at Leppington Station, NSW Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian said: “I challenge anyone to look around the world at the best railway stations and [Leppington Station] is up there with them.”

The HASSELL contribution to the project included the preparation of tender documents, stakeholder liaison and advisory services during the tender phase.

HASSELL also advised on the development of the Design and Construction contract that was awarded to John Holland.

Ross de la Motte, HASSELL Principal and Urban Transport Sector Leader, was delighted with the outcome and how the HASSELL vision had been brought to life.

“The development of transport infrastructure is essential to ensure a city remains liveable into the future and makes moving across it easy. This project has provided Sydney’s south-west greater access to amenity and a reliable transport service,” he said. 

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Wednesday 4 March 2015
Medibank’s new workplace on show at Worktech

Medibank is in the business of promoting better health for everyone. This includes the people who come to work every day at Medibank Place, its new head office in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The design of the new workplace was part of a major cultural change program that transformed Medibank from a traditional health insurance business to a healthcare provider focused on preventative health and wellbeing.

Medibank’s Executive General Manager, People and Culture, Kylie Bishop, is helping lead the business in its transformation. Kylie spoke at the Worktech conference today in Melbourne about how the HASSELL design concept for the site, building and workplace supports Medibank’s aspiration to create one of the healthiest workplaces in the world.

Medibank wanted a workplace that would be light years ahead of the more traditional office buildings it was moving from in encouraging movement, flexibility, freedom of choice, creativity, interaction and engagement.

Activity based working with health at its heart

The result is an evolution of Activity Based Working (ABW) that places the mental and physical health of people at its heart – and a building that Medibank’s David Goldsworthy, Program Director – Thrive, has described as being ‘hard-wired for health’. Medibank employees have real freedom to choose how and where they work. With laptops and mobile phones in hand, they can select from more than 26 types of work settings, ranging from indoor quiet spaces and collaborative hubs to wifi-enabled balconies and the building’s public park. This is not just empowering for staff, it also encourages people to move around during the work day which is a critical part of staying healthy.

Making the stairs the easiest way to travel between floors and including work settings where people can stand rather than sit are among other design decisions that promote this vital incidental physical activity. Employees who want a more vigorous workout during the day can also make use of a multipurpose sports court at ground level. Adjacent to the sports court, an edible garden sits near a demonstration kitchen that Medibank uses to promote healthy eating to both staff, not-for-profit organisations and the wider community.

A living, breathing building transforms its surrounds

Both the building and the workplace incorporate an enormous number of plants – 2,300 inside the building and 520 on the facade as well as two 25-metre high street-facing green walls. Within the workplace this helps relieve stress, improve internal air quality and transform views from grey to green. Around 10 percent of the building’s exterior is covered by plants which also makes the ‘living, breathing building’ a welcome relief within its heavily concreted surrounds.

Diverse design collaborations create character and meaning

Achieving the kind of innovation Medibank wanted for its new workplace meant driving a highly collaborative design process, including inviting a spectrum of collaborators to work with us. For example, three very different design firms – Chris Connell Design, Kerry Phelan Design Office and Russell and George – collaborated with HASSELL on the plaza level which sits in the middle of the tower and is designed to create an inspiring destination within the building. The result is a rich and diverse plaza level that houses four distinctive ‘clubhouses’, each created by a different design team to inspire different responses and create layers of character and meaning in the workplace.

A symbol of what Medibank stands for

The new building is a strong symbol of Medibank’s unwavering commitment to its employees and ‘walking the talk’ on promoting better health. More broadly, it achieves Medibank’s aim of ‘giving something back’ to the community by creating an engaging public precinct with a timber amphitheatre, cafes and shops as well as the welcoming park at its base. Medibank is confident its new workplace will also deliver financial value through improved productivity and efficiency and will help inspire customer focused innovation by creating breathing space for ideas to grow.

As Kylie puts it, the building, workplace and surrounding public space “epitomises our purpose and values and all that we stand for.”

For media enquiries or requests for images of this project, please contact:
Mike Roberts
T + 61 3 8102 3144
E mikeroberts@hassellstudio.com

Photography
Earl Carter: images 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Peter Bennetts: image 2

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