DesignInc is wrapping up an exciting 2017, as this year we’ve won international competitions, tenders, completed projects and received industry awards. We talk to Managing Director Sandeep Amin about DesignInc’s highlights, milestones and successes, and check in with other team members about our projects, events and company culture. This is DesignInc’s Year in Review 2017.
“We have come though a year filled with challenges and victories and I want to take this opportunity to thank our great team for all their efforts throughout the year. It is this team and their efforts, which are key to our success.” – Sandeep Amin, Managing Director.
“DesignInc has made significant progress in all sectors it is involved with. We have seen the education sector grow with innovative solutions for public schools and University of Wollongong. Defence sector has been active through strengthening DesignInc’s existing collaboration with Augility, but also forging a new alliance with Serco. In the aviation sector we have delivered a significant number of projects for Sydney Airport in line with our decades-long partnership, we are also now active in Perth Airport, winning a major competition, and involved with Newcastle Airport. Our interior design team has delivered innovative workplace solutions for corporate entities, aviation, transportation, defence, civic facilities and education institutions. Our efforts to bring the best possible innovation for our clients has seen an international alliance with Manuelle Gautrand Architecture as well as BMC2 and locally with Lacoste + Stevenson for winning major international competitions.” – Sandeep Amin.
Transport for NSW engaged DesignInc for the upgrade of a number of its stations in order to provide safe and equitable access to the platform and improved staff and customer facilities. This included heritage-sympathetic interventions at Berala and Broadmeadow, and an innovative design at Narwee Station, which is scheduled to open before Christmas, seven months ahead of program.
Other stations nearing completion include Toongabbie, Harris Park, Homebush, Panania and Victoria Street, all inspired by their local communities. Toongabbie’s lift shafts are inspired by the 1930s platform buildings. At Harris Park, which has a vibrant Indian community, aluminium screens are perforated in a manner inspired by an Indian Mandala with Bollywood-style colours. Homebush is state heritage listed and the new works are designed to fit in a respectful manner. And Victoria Street has a floating cloud canopy.
DesignInc won the tender for the design elements of the Sydney Metro Northwest’s Surface and Viaduct Civil Works, and the 4.5 kilometre landmark railway bridge between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill Metro stations is now complete. The viaduct structure includes a 135-metre-long curved twin-cable stayed bridge that has become an iconic piece of infrastructure straddling Windsor Road. The project was unusual in that it involved close collaboration between architect and engineer for such an ‘engineering-heavy’ infrastructure project.
“The design of each structure was particularly critical to the end result and clearly benefited from architectural involvement throughout the process.” – Cathryn Drew-Bredin, Principal.
In 2009, DesignInc with STH Health Architecture prepared its bid for Royal Adelaide Hospital, and we were thrilled to see it officially opened in September. Royal Adelaide Hospital is South Australia’s greenest hospital, and its design prioritises views, fresh air, privacy and efficiency to contribute to patients’ faster healing. As Premier Jay Weatherill stated at the opening ceremony: “The new hospital is the crowning achievement in the city’s biomedical precinct and will represent the highest standard of health care for South Australians.”
Shellharbour Civic Centre also opened earlier in this month. The building provides a state-of-the-art library, museum, auditorium, council offices and chambers, essentially serving as a hub for the area’s cultural and community activities. The centre opens to the public in January 2018 once the finishing touches are complete.
“The Governor of New South Wales, who was born in Wollongong, had a lot of positive things to say about the landscape surrounding Shellharbour, its growth over the years and how this building is a wonderful architectural expression of the Shellharbour community.” – Richard Does, Director.
DesignInc has also completed a series of projects at Sydney International Airport, all aimed at improving the passenger journey and experience. This includes a new bike storage facility for staff and passengers (with colourful and large-scale graphics for wayfinding); improvements to the bussing zones to improve their operations and proximate terminal interfaces; and constructing three additional levels for staff car parking (with a solar array on the roof level). Inside the terminal, DesignInc did the detail design and construction phase for the refreshed T2 Foodcourt, giving it a modern look and feel, as well as for the T1 and T2 public amenities refurbishments.
Another one of our key projects, the Northern Beaches B-Line rapid bus service between Mona Vale and Sydney CBD, is now operational and features bus shelters and public domain precincts with outdoor facilities designed by DesignInc. Three commuter car parks are due for completion in 2018. We have also been engaged for numerous fit outs and master plan studies for University of Wollongong, and our proposed design in collaboration with Lacoste + Stevenson has been shortlisted for the Coffs Harbour Civic Centre project.
Lindfield Learning Village makes use of the old UTS Kuring-gai Campus. It is a unique education environment that encourages specialisation from an early age, and will be a lighthouse school paving the way for education for the future. DesignInc in collaboration with Lacoste + Stevenson and BMC2 won the international design competition for Ultimo Pyrmont Public School, which demonstrates how high-rise schools in tight urban settings can deliver a quality educational environment. As NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes stated: “I am proud of the quality design of this new school, it will be superb. This will fit well into this suburb’s landscape and community life.”
“It is the best reward to get such compliments for our efforts from the minister.” – Sandeep Amin
Our education team, in collaboration with Robert Thorne Architects, is also gearing up for the construction of Queanbeyan Distance Education Centre, designed to provide a high level of education to remote NSW communities. We are also preparing for Dubbo West Public School and Dubbo Network Specialist Centre projects to begin construction in 2018, as well as a group of schools receiving an updated identity and public interface through the Secondary Schools Renewal Program.
At DesignInc, it’s not only important that we can contribute to people-focused environments, but that we contribute to our people. Teamwork is at the heart of our approach and keeping up with our commitment to our people, DesignInc’s Sydney office underwent a makeover earlier in the year, creating a new and more flexible fit out that we are certainly taking advantage of. It has not only improved the functionality of our workspace but has also contributed towards enhancing performance, collaboration, communication, efficiency and giving us a space that we all can come together to celebrate occasions, make presentations, hold talks or enjoy a drink or two to finish off the week on Friday evening.
“DesignInc Sydney has enjoyed consistent year-on-year growth for the past five-plus years and 2017 has been no different. Our culture of teamwork, innovation and having ‘fun’ has contributed significantly to team engagement and our resultant success. We started 2017 with a 45-strong team, which has become even stronger with the addition of 21 new team members. We buck the industry trend and maintain a balanced gender ratio of 50:50, which is unheard of in the industry. We are a culturally diverse team with 21 different backgrounds and nationalities, and we keenly recognise and celebrate our cultures and diversity.” – Sandeep Amin
This year we enjoyed Indian treats for Diwali, celebrated Harmony Day with food from around the world, dressed up for Melbourne Cup, watched Archie Roach’s inspiring documentary Best Kept Secret, and donned yellow to support R U OK Day.
DesignInc team also frequently enters and arranges fundraising events to aid charities and non-profit organisations. Making somewhat of a tradition of it, the DesignInc Sydney Cycling team survived MS Sydney to the Gong Charity Bike Ride 2017 and raised more than $4000 in the process – despite the torrential rain and strong winds. We also baked up a storm for RSPCA Cupcake Day and our Interior Design Principal, David Taylor, put his pedal to the metal for Mystery Box Rally 2017 to raise awareness and more than $12,000 for Cancer Council NSW.
Outside of the office, we have a lot of fit and adventurous team members at DesignInc, and the annual ski trip is always a highlight of the year. Nineteen of us hit the slopes of Thredbo for a weekend of fun, laughter and snow.
In June, 43 of us participated in the Fit24 wellbeing team challenge, which focuses on good nutrition, health, well-being and physical activity. The program encouraged us to implement seven hours of sleep each night, cut out sugar and exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes per day for twenty-four days.
“We support and promote a strong culture of wellbeing, which goes beyond the traditional health benefits. Our flexible work arrangements and healthy living initiatives all contribute towards our team’s productivity and wellness at work.” – Shumaila Ali, Human Resources Manager.
Finally, our team members Christopher Malouf and Patrick Ormsby participated in the Bobbin Head Classic to raise money for Lifeline and a number of other charities. The 80-kilometre cycle traversed the lush national park area between Kuring-Gai and Terrey Hills.
Our hard work has been duly recognised this year, not just by those who have presented at the official openings of our projects, but also in a number of industry awards.
Oatley Railway Station won the Great Place Award in the Planning Institute Australia (NSW) Awards for Excellence 2017, recognised for providing improved physical and social connectivity and accessibility and sensitively responding to the heritage context of the location. The station upgrade also won at the Master Builders Association (NSW) Excellence in Construction Awards 2017, picking up first place for civil engineering construction project up to $50 million.
“Oatley Railway Station was a great project for DesignInc as it is regarded as the best recent station built and is (more or less) universally appreciated. The recognition from the public has been great.” – Garth Davies, Principal.
Museum Railway Station also received an award from MBA (NSW) for the restoration of an historic building construction project from $10 million to $50 million.
The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) received the Victorian Architecture Medal at the Victorian Architecture Awards 2017 and William Wardell Award for Public Architecture. The VCCC represents how DesignInc creates people-focused environments that elevate the human experience of a space. At VCCC, free-flowing geometries that reflect the natural world are intended to create a sense of calm and relief for users, and this layer of emotional experience warms and softens the otherwise very functional and state-of-the-art hospital.
“VCCC has research and clinical functions in the same building, and is therefore not only developing cutting edge and emerging technology to deal with cancer, but also treating patients with that technology. We had to consider how to create an experience that will help patients feel calmer and happier during that treatment.” – Sandeep Amin.
Overall, 2017 has been a fantastic year for DesignInc and we are excited for 2018. We thank everyone who we have worked with and especially to all those who make DesignInc what it is today. We couldn’t have done it without you.
From all of us here at DesignInc Sydney, we wish you a joyous holiday season with peace and cheer in the New Year!