Last Friday, the Design Excellence Symposium was held at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus. A joint exercise between UOW and the Illawarra Property Council, the motivation was to raise public awareness of what constitutes good design particularly in the public arena. Speakers included academics, developers, architects and social planners each sharing their insights into what raises design outcomes above the ordinary.
The key theme, ‘Enrich – People, Place & Community‘, endeavoured to explore how lives can be improved with thoughtfully designed homes, buildings, environments and public spaces that capitalise community assets, maximise sustainability, embrace technologies and promote health, happiness and wellbeing. The speakers were on message with a focus on people and the liveability of the built environment; connection with nature; and designs that go beyond simply being sustainable moving towards projects that are regenerative and have close to zero impact on the planet.
I was able to share Edmiston Jones’ experience in the design of the Nowra GP Super Clinic. The architecture of the building was inspired by the location above the Shoalhaven River and Arthur Boyd’s paintings. The natural environment captured in Boyd’s images of the river with its filigree of trees shrouding rock formations and caves became the inspiration for the built form of the Super Clinic. The steep cliff faces of the riverbanks, softened by layering of eucalyptus trees, all mirrored in the still waters of the Shoalhaven River have been reflected in the design of the façade.
Edmiston Jones also had the opportunity to run a workshop giving participants the opportunity to experience an aspect of our co-design methodology. Margie’s recent blog post last week gave a hint of our approach and she was joined by Renee and Adam demonstrating how simple, engaging interactions can provide a deep understanding of a client’s needs and aspirations leading to far better design outcomes.
Our hope is that this design symposium will be the beginning of an annual event that engages with the wider community who, in turn, will demand a built environment that is extraordinary and inspiring.