Home' Scoop Homes and Art : SHA 29 Winter 2011 Contents 134 HOMES & ART WINTER 2011
airport runways are grid-patterned for
good reason. Airport terminals must also
be fully functional, built to swiftly process
a never-ending tide of passengers. The
basic blueprint is set, and architects are
called upon not to reinvent the wheel, but
to minimise the dehumanising frustration
of queuing and delays. “When designing or
remodelling an airport terminal, we look
to international examples,” John says. “It’s
shared knowledge of what works best.”
HASSELL also relied on shared
knowledge when designing the new
Adelaide Zoo Giant Panda Forest. Its staff
visited many exhibits around the world in
an effort to exceed best practice standards
set in the expert Chinese system.
The panda forest has been praised for its
peerless integration of animal husbandry
and spectator facilities, and has been
heralded by visiting Chinese scientists as
the best exhibit of its kind in the world.
For international projects, particularly
within Asia, John suggests a permanent
presence is required. “You must have a
fully functioning office in the region. You
can’t just arrive and expect to understand
the subtleties of Asian life and culture.”
HASSELL Architects met these standards
when designing the headquarters of
e-commerce firm Alibaba in Hangzhou
Province, China, with 150,000sqm of
office space at the heart of a campus-style
layout with extensive gardens, bridges,
streets and roof terraces. The ultra-modern
complex is designed on the concepts of
clarity, community and connectivity,
pivotal in Chinese workplace philosophy.
The strict Chinese model can be
measured against HASSELL’s playful
design of Dtac House, a telecommunication
headquarters in downtown Bangkok.
Dtac’s corporate philosophy is based on
‘play and learn’, and the architect’s brief
allowed for much in the way of intuitive
design ideas. Using natural materials such
as wood, silk and leather, the multi-storey
building houses acres of standardised
workstations, as well as innovative staff
areas such as ‘The Conversation Pit’, ‘The
Picnic Table’, and an indoor running track,
amphitheatre and karaoke bar.
Back home, HASSELL is racking up
awards for major projects, such as its
design of the Epping to Chatswood Rail
Link (ECRL) train stations in Sydney. The
company received the Sir Zelman Cowen
Award for Public Architecture in November
2010, in recognition of the ECRL design
that Melinda Dodson, chairwoman of the
award jury, described as “inspirational
and beautiful”. The new stations were also
short-listed for the World’s Best Transport
Building at the World Architecture Festival
Awards in Barcelona. No mean feat!
It’s not all trains, planes and
skyscrapers. HASSELL is renowned as a
commercial interior design specialist.
In Melbourne, the home of understated
elegance, it’s been responsible for some
recent gems, particularly in restaurants.
The emphasis is on subtle, intricate touches,
from the glossed tile a nd timber serenity
of the Deba Sushi Bar, to the simple limed
timbers and hand-crafted seating in the
Outpost Dining Room. Both are celebrated
for an evocation of place and an expert use
of perspective and light. That you can enjoy
a meal there is an added bonus.
Size counts when you are considered one
of the world’s largest architectural firms.
But size is not everything.
Walk through a HASSELL milestone
project and take a closer look. Sure, the
scale of the thing is impressive, yet the
beauty is in the detail: a door handle that
is original and unique; a bank of lights that
softens the eye; a staircase to dance down.
It’s the total concept that counts.
“You can’t just arrive there and expect to
understand the subtleties of Asian culture”
LEFTThe cool, calm interior at Deba Sushi Bar
in Melbourne. BELOW The inviting Bangkok
headquarters of telecommunications firm Dtac.
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