Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell of WOHA, Garden City, Mega City Strategies for the 21st Century Sustainable City

The 21st century promises to be very different from the 20th century – so why are cities being planned using components that were developed during the last 100 years? In this talk, WOHA Directors share some ideas on what the designers of hyper dense cities of the 21st century could and should be doing to make them great places to live.

The architecture of WOHA, founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 1994, is notable for its constant evolution and innovation. A profound awareness of local context and tradition is intertwined with an ongoing exploration of contemporary architectural form-making and ideas, thus creating a unique fusion of practicality and invention. WOHA conceptualizes all aspects of the architectural process, and environmental principles have always been fundamental to the work of the practice, which is guided by a commitment to responsive place-making and to the creation of an invigorating and sustainable architecture.

WOHA’s built projects – throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Australia – range from apartment towers to luxury resorts, mass-transit stations, condominiums, hotels, educational institutions, and public buildings. WOHA has won an unprecedented amount of architectural awards for a Southeast Asian practice: they received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 for 1 Moulmein Rise, they collected four awards in the RIBA International Awards of 2011 and 2010 for Alila Villas Uluwatu, School of the Arts, The Met and Bras Basah MRT Station, and they won the 2011 RIBA Lubetkin Prize and the 2010 International Highrise Award for The Met. As an emphatic indication of WOHA’s versatility and global recognition, the practice won two titles in two consecutive years (in four separate categories) at the World Architecture Festival in 2009 and 2010. The practice currently has projects under construction in Singapore, India, China and Indonesia. A travelling exhibition devoted exclusively to their work opened at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Germany, in December 2011, and three substantial monographs – WOHA: The Architecture of WOHA and WOHA: Selected Projects Vol. 1 and 2 – have already been published.

Wong Mun Summ is the joint Founding Director of WOHA. He graduated with Honours from the National University of Singapore in 1989. He was a Board member of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Land Authority and served as member of several Design Advisory Panels for major developments in Singapore. He has mentored students under the National University of Singapore’s Embedded Studio in Practice programme and, together with Richard Hassell, served as Studio Masters for the University’s MSc in Integrated Sustainable Design Masterclass since 2011. He was appointed as Jury Chair in the 2015 Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards.

Richard Hassell is the co-Founding Director of WOHA. He graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1989, and was awarded a Master of Architecture degree from RMIT University, Melbourne, in 2002. He has served as a Board Member of DesignSingapore Council, the Board of Architects as well as the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore. He has lectured at many universities, and served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Western Australia.

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