News / November 2017
Wednesday 29 November 2017
HASSELL+ ‘collects and connects’ San Francisco bay communities to boost resilience

International design team HASSELL+ has re-imagined a series of San Francisco waterfront communities as vibrant, fundamentally public places primed for everyday use – but also vital for environmental and emergency needs.

The team's 'Collect and Connect' response for Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge was inspired by the way the region’s communities used open spaces during both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake – one of the deadliest in US history – and the recent, devastating Northern California wildfires.

Taking their cue from these historic and current patterns of use, the team proposed creating a new network of parklands and public spaces to connect and collect people and water – both before and during times of disaster – within three communities: East Oakland, Redwood City and South San Francisco.

Speaking for the design team, HASSELL Principal Richard Mullane said, “Resilience to disaster is as much about how communities are able to organise themselves in urban space as it is about major infrastructure.

“Our approach to resilience focuses on creating quality public spaces and better communities.”

The Bay Area is at risk from both sea level rise and seismic events. In addition, many communities are grappling with high unemployment and poverty, a lack of regional governance, and limited or no access to shorelines due to industry.

Moreover, the area’s transport infrastructure – rail, freeways, ferries and walking and cycling trails – form loops that are increasingly congested. Like circuits, they then become more likely to break.

To address this, HASSELL+ envisions a network structure of green spaces, creeks and revived high streets that would serve as points of collection, connection and water management from the ridgeline to shoreline and across the bay via an enhanced ferry network.

“Recharged ‘connectors’ – streets and creeks – and new ‘collectors’ – responsive, adaptable open spaces – would become places for everyday gathering, big events and disaster assembly. Together, they could ultimately make the Bay Area more physically and socially resilient,” Richard explained.

The proposal also includes a digital platform giving Bay Area communities a say in the facilities they need most. “We want communities to design along with us, so together we’re coming up with meaningful, practical solutions that can be developed locally and shared regionally,” Richard said.

“From tool libraries to resilience education centres, our team has devised a range of places that could be hubs of community activity and genuine engagement,” he said.

“Our team is looking forward to hearing feedback from local communities and working with them and local authorities to bring some of our ideas to life.”

The proposals are open to public feedback until 1 December 2017, via Neighborland.

 
Friday 24 November 2017
Rob Backhouse receives Interior Design Excellence Awards Gold Medal

HASSELL Principal and Chairman Rob Backhouse has been awarded the 2017 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) Gold Medal.

The IDEA is Australia’s largest and most successful independent design awards program. Launched by inside magazine in 2003, the program celebrates the best of Australian interior and product design across 11 categories and five Special Awards.

The Gold Medal is the most prestigious award at the IDEA, and is given in recognition of those practitioners who have made an influential and enduring contribution to Australian design culture over the course of a career.

On awarding the Gold Medal to Rob, the jury cited: “As a designer he [Rob] has contributed to projects that have been recognised worldwide and, as managing director of HASSELL, one of the country’s most successful design practices, he has led the business to further accomplishment.”

“Perhaps one of Rob Backhouse’s greatest talents is his inclusive and collegiate nature. He has the ability to nurture and sustain inter and multidisciplinary teams that work together for the greater good of the project and the practice. His perception of design is inclusive of all design genres and he understands that this is what makes a good project great. Through his own experience, however, Backhouse has shone a very bright light on the importance of interior design and, as Managing Director, he has championed the importance of interiors as a principal player along with architecture, landscape and urban design.”

Upon accepting the award Rob said he was honoured to receive this type of recognition from the industry.

“This is such an unexpected honour. I’m proud of the many great projects I’ve been able to be involved in throughout my career so far and have been lucky to work with loads of really talented designers and clients."

 
Thursday 23 November 2017
Lucy Turnbull AO visits the HASSELL Sydney studio

Earlier this week, Ms Lucy Turnbull AO, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, visited the HASSELL Sydney studio.

Ms Turnbull presented the Commission’s Plan for Greater Sydney, a key part of the Commission’s strategy for working with government and industry to deliver strong and effective strategic planning for the whole of metropolitan Sydney.

The plan details how to develop Sydney into a metropolis of ‘three cities’ where almost three-quarters of people will live within 30 minutes of one of the city centres.

An urbanist, businesswoman and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities and technological and social innovation, Ms Turnbull commented on several issues she sees as critical to getting right when considering the future success of cities such as Sydney.

Among these was the need to leverage the good that technology advances can bring about for communities while minimising potential negatives.

Ms Turnbull cited examples like autonomous vehicles, remarking: “On the one hand AVs could be harnessed to help connect underemployed people in areas that aren’t well served by public transportation with employment opportunities, but on the other hand could lead to social isolation if not well considered.”

Other key issues and challenges Ms Turnbull mentioned as being critical to the successful future development of Sydney included:
_considering health and education precincts holistically as attractors within the overall city;
_designing successful vertical schools for the increasing school-aged population;
_designing cities for walkability and the flow on that has for overall wellbeing; and
_the importance of the green grid and green cover to counteract the heat island effect.

HASSELL Principal David Tickle said, “It was great to hear that our areas of focus at HASSELL are so aligned with the broader policy context for the development of Sydney as a successful global city.”

 
Tuesday 21 November 2017
HASSELL to design $900m Yaroomba Beach redevelopment

Sekisui House Australia has commissioned HASSELL to undertake the master planning of the Yaroomba Beach site on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, including architecture, and landscape architecture.

The project represents a rare opportunity for an integrated, mixed-use community surrounded by dune buffers and vegetation.

The overall vision includes The Westin Coolum Spa and Resort which will provide a positive harmonious development that the entire community can enjoy. This will be the first 5 star resort developed on the Sunshine Coast in 30 years and included integrated conference and events space. The development will be an exemplar of sustainable and ecologically sensitive design that respects the natural character and environment of the area.

Embedded throughout the masterplan are a series of design principles informed by the Sunshine Coast’s landscape. HASSELL responded to the specific ‘touching the ground lightly’ guidelines by drawing the environment right up and into the buildings, highlighting the unique qualities the locality evokes.

The design interweaves the landscape and built form from the edges of the dune to the heart of the site, with the built form taking inspiration from Mount Coolum creating distinction between a landscaped base and a delicate green overlay.

HASSELL Principal Kevin Lloyd believes the proposed development Yaroomba Beach has the potential to create a precinct of regional and state importance.

The development of a five star hotel with associated facilities will expand the appeal of the Sunshine Coast as a domestic and international tourism destination. These facilities will also provide the opportunity to cater for the expanding conference/convention industry, thereby attracting major events to the region. This will in turn provide employment and economic growth to the area.

“We have designed a building that is understated and more of a natural extension of the landscape and the character of the Sunshine Coast. It sets a new benchmark for the architectural expression of the region – a building that embraces the local vernacular and evolves this to create a new exemplar,” Kevin said.

“The façade is expressed as a series of distinct elements, with landscape drawn vertically through the building, connecting the permeable ground plane with a series of richly landscaped terraces at roof level,” he said.

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