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Collaboration and listening: ASPECT Studios in India

Date: 7月 10, 2024
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Making great places involves forming a deep understanding about how they will fit into what already exists – the ways in which they will become part of daily life, and part of a network of interlocking natural systems. Our emerging body of work in India is exciting because it means working in a new place, with new collaborators, and coming to terms with a different world of cultural and environmental factors. At the same time, it affords us opportunities to applying lessons learnt elsewhere in the world to support the excellent work being done locally to design uniquely Indian landscapes. In entering this context, we are looking forward to new opportunities to meet and work with new collaborators and clients.

Working with extreme density
The locally acquired knowledge and expertise our studios possess, whether this be in commercial campus design in China or subtropical planting in Australia, can complement the work being done to address the environmental challenges facing India today. Our hope is that in time, through collaboration and listening, a newfound understanding of the subcontinent will shape the way we design in India.

The work we are undertaking in India has exposed us to a local, genuine drive to make positive change, and we are finding that we share an acute awareness of the social responsibilities and impact designers and developers can have in this part of the world.

Our approach thus far has been to pay close attention to how spaces are used, and what differing pressures they will face though their life cycle. This is being informed by our experience in designing for dense urban environments, which has proven relevant to our new clients and collaborations.
In urban cities with cramped urban conditions and limited access to meaningful public open space, the role of the landscape spaces within developments plays a critical role in providing the social infrastructure and places when the varied demographic if community can connect at all hours of the day. A focus on people first, and providing meaningful amenity, experience and program not only provides the best outcome for the community but the net results in busy, activated, and popular development that bring commercial success.

ASPECT Studios’ work in East Asia creating lively cultural and commercial spaces in dense urban environments, as well as large-scale global tech campus projects, provides a useful frame of reference for developing strategies to respond to these challenges.

Stephen Buckle, Design Director, said that tapping this knowledge allows the practice to share its learnings to new markets and regions.

Building upon the experience delivering vibrant urban destinations, we have found strong synergies in crafting people-oriented spaces within high-density environments. However, while we can bring this knowledge, we also continue our learning. India and its contextually specific complexities provide us with unique opportunities to expand our thinking, develop new approaches, and innovate in developing solutions, making each project a new, unique, and energizing journey.
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Placemaking with climate
Under our One Studio model, expertise from across our international studios is pooled to support a local design response – one outcome of this is that our people can compare experiences to produce designs that embody best practice. The designs that emerge from our Perth and Dubai studios, for instance, have developed the practice’s knowledge of and experience in designing for arid landscapes.

Likewise, our Brisbane team has a well-honed understanding of how space is used in subtropical and tropical climates. Undercrofts, verandahs, and awnings are the most inhabitable spaces for the shade and dappled light they provide.

Matthew Durning, Studio Director, said,

India's public spaces are vibrant and efficient and every square meter is utilised with life, from bustling market stalls to children playing games in alleyways. It is remarkable to see the value people put on spaces between buildings and the ability to create community and joy, even in the most unremarkable spaces. It is clear that the heat and humidity favours interstitial spaces such as awnings, doorways, undercrofts and the shade of trees become the most vibrant and preferred public spaces.
Stephen is an influential designer, landscape architect and urbanist recognised for his bold city shaping projects that look to challenge and disrupt urban mundanity. He endeavours to address the complex social, environmental, and technical challenges faced in some of world’s most densely urbanised cities.
Matthew brings extensive experience across Australia and New Zealand to the practice. He is passionate about centring Country and the environment in the creation of spaces that enhance public life.