Back story_

A journal of projects and links compiled from working with design practices, governments and universities across Australia;

Australian design strategy 2.0

New Zealand, India and Singapore have closely followed the sustained work of the UK’s Design Council to develop their own strategies and policies to support and promote design. But despite 60 years of solid work by industry, Australia is yet to get either serious or strategic about design.

Australian Design Strategy 2.0 is a primer, written to spark a fresh attempt at stimulating receptor cells in state and national government in 2018 – an election year, and released at the Sydney Design Festival.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.09.58 pm.png

Australia by Design – Network Ten and WIN TV 

Australia by Design is a national television series produced by MWC Media, and featuring a gig as national series host. The series brings good design to free-to-air television on Network Ten and WIN TV. The first series of 9 episodes, focused on architecture, aired to almost 1m Australians, with more than 60,000 on-demand views.

#AUbyDesign is a kind of ‘trilogy’ – bringing together projects from the fields of architecture, product design and landscape architecture across 3 series; with more than 120 projects; designers, architects, landscape architects, clients, homeowners and more.


Architecture Insights on Soundcloud

Architecture Insights is the alter-ego of the NSW Architects Registration Board. Seeding this alternative identity allows the Board to explore territory beyond the limits of the Architects Act, and help promote a better understanding of architecture (and design) in the community.

The Soundcloud site posts podcasts on functions of the Board, and events – including interviews with friends we meet at the Sydney Architecture Festival like Indy Johar, Prof Laura Lee, Kristien Ring and more.

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Sydney World Design Capital 2020

A big idea designed to bring Greater Sydney together around a 3 year project to be declared World Design Capital in 2020. Working with Good Design Australia, Frost* Collective, Committee for Sydney, City of Parramatta and around 30 more, the bid is centred on Sydney’s connection to climate, cultural diversity and a city under massive change.

Sydney. WDC2020. Inclusive. Resilient.

Stretton Centre, Adelaide

A new kind of innovation lab that brings researchers and designers together with policymakers and industry to help transition South Australia’s manufacturing industries to the new, emerging economy. Based in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, the Stretton Centre is a collaboration between the Australian Government, the University of Adelaide and the City of Playford. Design team is led by HASSELL.

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Pic credit: HASSELL












Committee for Adelaide

In 2013, the Committee for Adelaide joined the ranks of similar groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth – bringing together people from all walks of life to play a role in city governance beyond politics. The move to establish the Committee came from time served as a Commissioner advising government, and realising that there are some things government is just not set up to do (or do well). As a not for profit, a-political alliance of private sector, non-government organisations and high performing individuals, the Committee is evidence-based so it’s beyond ideology. It’s self-funded, so it’s independent. Because of who’s involved, and how it works, C4A could ask a different kind of question – more likely to result in a different kind of answer.

_Earning our place in a global economy

This work distilled 19,000 words and 97 separate citations in to a brief ‘launch’ document on the challenges and opportunities for Adelaide, and the need to build strategies to boost people, enterprise and capital we need for the growth we all want.

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_Agenda for Growth

This second publication sought to shift the language Adelaide uses when thinking about growth & development – often feared as a dissent in to a sub optimal future, Agenda for Growth offers a case for change; and a fresh vocabulary around smart growth, smart reform and smart investment.

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Integrated Design Commission SA

_Integrated Design Strategy for Inner Adelaide

Conceived as a national urban pilot to explore the potential of design-based methods as a more effective way to synthesize the tsunami of information, data and evidence we have on making cities work, the project went by the more user-friendly title of 5000+. It was a collaboration between the 3 levels of government in Australia (eight Councils, four agencies of the state government of South Australia, and the Australian government), but also with over 70 peak bodies and community groups, university research and built environment professionals. screenshot

It’s real success was the people it brought out in to the open, and those it brought together. For 18 months, the project operated as a [reasonably] open platform for those interested in airing the dangerous and the desirable and balancing evidence with experience; expert with everybody else.

It was also a chance to work with a small team of clever, committed design-thinkers. It seems everyone ‘got’ the project more than its primary sponsor – government. Elements of the project live on in a series of announcements made the year after the project formally finished.

It was an exercise in mass engagement, using traditional and online media to talk directly to people about what makes a great place, and how that might shape the future planning of Adelaide’s inner metro communities.

Liveable city workshop IMGP6447

_Design South Australia

Working with Voice design to publish the first in a series of annual compendiums showcasing local design excellence in South Australia. 2000 copies were published by Wakefield Press as an artefact to be used as a state gift and a resource for government seeking to promote design as part of the state identity.

Graphic design: Voice design
Longview’s The Piece & Yalumba’s Tasting Room by Grieve Gillett

_Zero CarbonChallenge

Australia’s first public design competition to deliver a nett zero carbon house through collaboration between architects, builders and students, and completed in mid 2013 by TS4 Sustainable Living. The Challenge kickstarted a few small enterprises to build demonstration homes, and secure contracts that are now underway. Check out Good house as an example.

The public competition attracted media interest; allowing the project to act as a real-world platform for discussion on energy efficiency, local material suppliers and industry innovation; under the objective of ‘low bills living’.

TS4 Sustainable Living
TS4 Sustainable Living

HASSELL, Adelaide (2005-2010)

_Hawke Building, University of South Australia (in assoc with John Wardle Architects)

Chancellery building, gallery and home to the Anne & Gordon Samstag Art Museum and Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library as well as teaching and event space for the University of South Australia.

Pic credit: Trevor Mein

_Adelaide Festival Centre for the South Australian government

A small scale upgrade of the Dunstan Playhouse coincided with its 35th year since completion. This gave us a chance to design & stage an exhibition celebrating the intriguing life of the Festival Centre that started as a very different project on a very different site. A project that was really a research thesis in to the Hassell archives, exploring the chronology of the project at a time when unionised labour, professional services and politics was changing.

Pic credit: Sam Noonan

_Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct for Zoos SA

The first new entrance to the Adelaide Zoo for over 100 years as part of works to prepare the Zoo for the arrival of new Giant Panda bears. The big move was to provide around 2000sqm of public space at the threshold to the new entrance and create activity, landscape and public pathways through this space outside of Zoo hours.

Function, administration, new cafes, retail and ticketing is clustered around a series of connected open spaces, green walls and free exhibition and education facilities.

A project designed around the Zoos 4 key themes of education, research, conservation and environment.

Pic credit: Peter Bennetts
Pic Credit: Sam Noonan


Adelaide Zoo







































_Charles Darwin University Chancellery

A new home for University Vice Chancellor and senior executive team, administration and University Council. A new art museum for Charles Darwin’s impressive works on paper and indigenous art and craft.

Pic credit: Brett Boardman

Johnson Pilton Walker (2003-2005)

_Westpac Place (Sussex Street), Sydney with Leighton Contractors

Around 90,000sqm of new office space on a whole city block redeveloped as public space and the home of large Australian bank, Westpac.

Lahz Nimmo Architects (1997-2003)

_Seymour Theatre Centre Masterplan & Foyer Upgrade for the University of Sydney

The original Seymour Theatre was by Allen Jack & Cottier, opened in 1975. Internal refurbishment to the foyers, box office and amenities was an exercise in the strategic use of small budgets and celebrating the original material use, colours and flamboyant 70’s signage.

Pic credit: Brett Boardman

_”Look of the Public Domain”, Homebush Bay for the Olympic Co-ordination Authority

The “look” of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games was a set of temporary installations that needed to house functions like wayfinding, crowd control and supervision, lighting and communication to volunteers and Games organizers. The ‘kit of parts’ was based on a set of tower structures recalling beach culture.

Pic credit: Brett Boardman

_Remodelling of St. James Station Environs for the City of Sydney

An interwar toilet block in Hyde Park (North) became a pavilion cafe at the head of Market St, over the entrance to the St James railway station



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