News / October 2017
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Exploring density in Sao Paulo

Earlier this month, HASSELL Principal Tony Grist attended the fall meeting of the Van Alen Institute’s International Council in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It was the first meeting held in the southern hemisphere, following previous meetings in Copenhagen, Munich and Chicago.

The trip included an architectural tour of a range of urban spaces and buildings designed for large populations, including post-WWII and contemporary examples and an unplanned favela.

There was also a multilingual panel discussion with Instituto Lina Bo Bardi (‘Concrete + Conjured: Lessons on Density’), studio visits to local practices and a final day design charrette on density and civic participation involving International Council members and guests.

Tony says it was an opportunity to explore challenges for densification in one of the world’s densest cities.

“Sao Paulo has developed many strategies for high density living, such as the utilisation of vacant multistorey buildings close to the city centre with ‘organised’ occupations," he said.

"But one lesson learnt is that adequate housing for lower-paid populations needs to be provided in city centres, so as to reduce long commutes from distant suburbs and ensure that essential workers can contribute to core service provision."

The result of inadequate densification in city centres is urban sprawl, a familiar issue faced in Australian cities, Tony says.

"But given the scale of Sao Paulo there are also opportunities to create satellite centres that are well serviced by infrastructure and economic opportunity and offer shorter travel distances for portions of the urban population." 

"In Sydney, Parramatta is a good example, as are the planned areas around the new Western Sydney Aiport."

The not-for-profit Van Alen Institute is based in New York and works with architects, academics, policymakers and communities on cross-disciplinary research, public programs and design competitions.

Members of its International Council meet twice annually to investigate issues facing cities around the world, convene with local policymakers, developers, researchers, and designers and identify topics with potential for deeper exploration with Van Alen’s international audience.

The International Council is led by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Kim Herforth Nielsen, 3XN.

Tony Grist and Mark Loughnan – joint Heads of Design for Architecture at HASSELL – were appointed as members in 2016.

The next Council meeting will be held in early 2018 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Tony Grist drawing with Van Alen International Council members (Credit: Jose Pelegrini)
Van Alen Institute International Council on tour in Sao Paulo
Ibirapuera Park Buildings by Oscar Niemeyer
Oito Building by Isay Weinfeld
Edificio Copan by Oscar Niemeyer

Monday 9 October 2017
Sky Central Named Best of the Best in UK

Sky Central has been named ‘Best of the Best’ at the British Council of Offices (BCO) National Awards in London this week.

In selecting Sky Central for the top spot, the jury said: “Sky has created a genuinely unique and hugely dynamic working environment for its team.”

HASSELL was responsible for the workplace design of Sky Central, which also won the Corporate Workplace award, following success in the same category for the regional awards earlier this year.

The BCO awards are the latest in a growing list of accolades for Sky Central, which has won six major UK awards since its completion in 2016, including the New London Architecture Award in the Workplace category, Creative Spaces at the Estates Gazette Awards 2017, and Commercial Interior Project of the Year in the Mixology17 Awards.

The project is also in the running for the 2017 FX International Interior Design Awards and Blueprint Awards, due to be announced later this year.

HASSELL worked closely with concept architect, AL_A, interior and executive architect, PLP, Arup and Mace to design and deliver the 45,000sqm workplace in West London.

Sky central news
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Mark Loughnan presents at Berlin’s The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory

HASSELL Principal and Board Director Mark Loughnan recently presented in Berlin as part of ‘Museum as Activator: Strategies for public space and access’, invited by ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

The two-day conference consisted of public lectures and panel discussions at ANCB that sparked broader dialogue between cultural experts, institutions, architects, curators and government, focusing on the different strategies required to increase museums’ impact on both a national and global scale.

Mark was part of the panel discussing the topic of ‘The Museum of the 21st Century as Activation Strategy for Public Space’, alongside Dolla Merrillees (The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney), Lisa Havila (Carriage Works, Sydney), and Alex Bowen (Creative Sydney).

The panel discussed evolving museum design strategies across Australia and Germany. Specifically, the conference looked at how to create and enhance public spaces and how cultural institutions today serve as a motor for redevelopment of urban spaces and inclusion within diverse, international, and multi-layered society.

Using a variety of projects as case studies, including the New Museum Western Australia by HASSELL+OMA, the discussion also explored how - apart from their purpose of cultural education -  these spaces are increasingly understood as powerful instruments and activators of urban development.

Mark said that cultural institutions are capable of activating city precincts and infusing even the most neglected areas with new life.

“At HASSELL our goal is to unlock the cultural, social, and economic value of cities and places, and museums and galleries play an important role in this. They are places where people come together and if done right can be transformational.” Mark said.

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