News / April 2016
Friday 22 April 2016
Innovative affordable housing on display in Brisbane

China faces challenges of limited land availability and massive future population growth, as well as a growing demand on natural resources. So how do you address these challenges when designing social housing? The solution includes an eighth floor park, greenhouses, homework spaces, and flexible apartments to accommodate a growing family.

These are just some of the features of the Shenzhen Affordable Housing scheme designed by HASSELL and now on display at the Museum of Brisbane as part of its Living in the City exhibition. The scheme was originally a finalist in a social housing competition in the southwestern city of Shenzhen in China and included apartment buildings with vertically stacked shared facilities, allowing for easy access for residents.

“It was a brief that demanded a whole new way of thinking about how people live and, even though it was specifically for a city in China, it highlighted the sort of innovation that is possible in social housing,” said HASSELL Principal, David Tickle about the original design competition.

“In a bid to counter some of the problems of social housing, our focus was on enabling people to interact with each other, to share experiences as well as spaces.”

These spaces not only promote a strong sense of community but also generate a unique architectural solution for the buildings.

“Our design also dealt with the issues of flexibility and adaptability of personal space, which has immediate relevance to cities around the world.

“A regular structural grid minimised cost and construction time, and we designed apartments so that they could be modified to suit changes in lifestyle on a daily or longer-term basis. For example, enabling single apartments to be combined into a larger apartment to accommodate a growing family, while furniture could be folded to turn a living space into a bedroom.

“By equipping the apartments to cater to the changing needs of their occupants through their different life stages, there is a more stable community. The design also imbues a greater sense of responsibility for the residents to care for their living environment, something that is often not provided within social housing developments.”

“While the challenges in Shenzhen are extreme, housing supply is also a growing issue in Australia’s major cities, and as architects and planners we need to be prepared to think ‘outside the square’,” David said.

Architectural models, plans and 3D renderings of the HASSELL design are on display in the Living in the city exhibition until 22 May, which showcases innovative architectural projects in Brisbane’s nine Asia-Pacific sister cities as well as projects under construction in the Queensland capital.

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Thursday 21 April 2016
Help PLAY[ground] win 2016 AILA Best Playground competition

Kids diving into multi-coloured ball pools, shimmying up ropes, and running through a maze of plants and a forest of multi-coloured ribbons. This was the HASSELL designed Archikidz PLAY[ground] project that transformed Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks during Vivid Sydney 2015. We think that makes a pretty awesome playground.

We’ve entered the project in the AILA Best Playground competition and need your help to get the project to the next round.

The competition is judged via a voting system, so get behind our work and design team with your vote and help PLAY[ground] progress to even maybe the next round.

Voting is open until 28 April.

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Wednesday 6 April 2016
The future of the hospitality experience, through technology and design?

HASSELL Principal Paul Semple was part of a panel at Singapore’s renowned Hotel Vagabond last night that looked at how design and technology are impacting the future of Hospitality.

The panel was moderated by international media personality and travel host Anita Kapoor and also included Judith Davidson, HomeAway, Allan Yip, Artyzen Hospitality Group, James and Tamara Lohan, Mr and Mrs Smith, and Damion Breust, The Bleisure Traveller.

Media representatives, industry influencers and guests who attended the panel discussion heard Paul and the other industry leaders discuss topics such as design-led hotel strategy, the importance of design in the hotel experience and the future of hotels, the growth of community-based models such as AirBnB and HomeAway and shifting trends towards home-like comforts over 5-star luxury.

All panellists agreed that while the industry is constantly evolving and that technology is becoming more adaptable, including in-room smart phone technology and ‘staffless’ hotels, the guest and guest experience should always be the key consideration for any hotel design. Quality and value of experience is driven by comfort, hospitality and amenity at whatever level a hotel brand is positioning its offer.

HASSELL has worked with some of the biggest players in the global hospitality industry including Hilton Group, Hyatt Group, InterContinental Hotels Group, ACCOR, Harry’s International, The Ascot Group, and Ovolo Hotels to deliver hospitality projects across the world including Coppersmith Hotel, Melbourne, The Club Hotel, Singapore, and Ovolo Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

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Friday 1 April 2016
Introducing Dennis Ho

Recently appointed HASSELL Principal Dennis Ho is an innovative and creative designer with a strong portfolio of international experience. 

Dennis, who will be based in our Hong Kong studio, comes to HASSELL with 20 years of experience at Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP), where he worked closely with both Richard Rogers and Ivan Harbour. Dennis is known for his exceptional design talent, hand sketching ability, creativity and problem solving.

During his career, Dennis has been involved in a wide range of buildings and master plan projects, from large-scale, mixed-use complexes in Singapore and Seoul to high-end residential development in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei, and city regeneration projects in Malaysia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. 

Some of the projects Dennis was involved in during his time with RSHP include Double Cove in Hong Kong, Fubon HQ and Taoyuan International Airport Control Tower in Taipei, The International Quarter Building S6 in Stratford (UK), and Crystal City in Washington DC. 

Dennis has worked across multiple sectors in Asia and will be a key asset to our team and clients in Hong Kong and across the region, contributing to existing projects as well as new opportunities. His digital presentation expertise, unambiguous conceptual creative thinking and his ability to distil client briefs will be an asset to the HASSELL team. 

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work within HASSELL on such a diverse range of projects across Asia. My emphasis will be on collaborating to create exemplary and innovative design,’ says Dennis.

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Friday 1 April 2016
Vale John Morphett

It’s with great sadness we mark the passing of revered architect John Neville Morphett AM, OBE.

A truly remarkable person and an award-winning designer, John was a driving force in championing HASSELL as the collaborative, international practice it is today.

John joined HASSELL in 1955, (or HASSELL, McConnell and Partners as it was known then), after graduating from the University of Adelaide, and continued his association with the practice for over forty years.

“His clear vision to distinguish HASSELL as a ‘design practice’, rather than just an architectural one, has been a cornerstone of our ongoing strategic vision,” said HASSELL Managing Director and Chairman Robert Backhouse.

"John held a firm belief that every situation deserves a unique response, rejecting style in favour of rigorously tested design solutions that not only build on their predecessors but are new inventions.”

Following a brief period in the United States working for Walter Gropius, John took up a key role at HASSELL in the early 1960s as Principal, and later became Managing Director in 1979, and Board Director in 1992. He was integral to the Practice’s expansion into new markets throughout Australia and Asia.

“John’s lasting legacy for HASSELL is undoubtedly his commitment to collaboration of skills and people as being the most fruitful for creative endeavours, and the basis for establishing a deep, enduring design culture,” said Former HASSELL Managing Director, Tim Shannon. 

His passion for architecture saw him recognised with a long list of local and international honours from the profession and community at large. He was awarded the RAIA Gold Medal in 2000, received the RAIA Life Fellow and served as an honorary British Consul-General in South Australia for 10 years (1986-1996).

"John was such a delightful man. Measured, thoughtful, great company, a wonderful designer, draftsman and artist, mentor and a great collaborator. He was a wonderful ambassador of HASSELL, the City of Adelaide and Australia,” said HASSELL Principal Ross de la Motte. 

John generously imparted his design wisdom to a host of HASSELL people who remember him as a design mentor with a sharp mind, and a robust dedication to the craft. 

The time he spent as a young man studying at MIT in Boston, and running The Architects Collaborative office in Rome provided him with experience and insights that shaped his architectural career, and which all those who have worked for, and with HASSELL, have benefited from. 

“John made a great impact on my career as a designer. He was inspiring to work with informing my approach on how architecture should be seen with utmost clarity,” said HASSELL Principal Mariano DeDuonni.

Our deepest sympathies are with John’s family.

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