WOHA is a multidisciplinary design firm led by directors Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell and founded in 1994. Creative and technical staff are grouped in teams, that follow projects all the way through from concept to completion.
The firm has been said not to have a fixed language or style, and, instead, to let each project evolve around a set of objectives and strategies that emerge from within the project.
Working primarily in tropical locations, the firm has become well-known for high-rise apartments that have been described as innovative, sustainable and "green". One of these high-rise apartments, The Met in Bangkok, was selected as the World Housing Development of the Year in 2009 and also won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize in the year of 2011
The firm has also been engaged to carry out public projects. An example is the Bras Basah MRT Station, which was the World Transport Building of the Year in 2009 and was praised by the jury as providing a sophisticated solution to complex urban problems.
Wong Mun Summ
Wong Mun Summ was born in 1962, and graduated with Honours from the National University of Singapore in 1989. He is a member of the Singapore Institute of Architects, and served on the board of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) from 1999 to 2005. He has also served on the International Design Consultancy for the Waterfront at the Downtown at Marina Bay, and as a member of URA design advisory panels for such projects as the Singapore Sports Hub, the Marina Barrage, and the Integrated Resort at Marina Bay.
Richard Hassell was born in 1966, and graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1989. He was awarded a Master of Architecture degree from the RMIT University, Melbourne, in 2002. He is currently a board member of both the DesignSingapore Council and the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore, and has also served on committees for the URA, SIA and Board of Architects (BOA) in Singapore. He has lectured at universities in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, the USA, and the United Kingdom, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, from 2006 to 2009.
WOHA associates are Chan Ee Mun, Donovan Soon, Esther Soh, Francis Goh, Pearl Chee and Sim Choon Heok.
WOHA's strategy is to study the various desire lines on the site. Through negotiating the conflicting requirements of site, climate, technologies, developer, authorities, end-users and consultants, a diagram is produced that incorporates all these forces. This diagram is then used to develop the design at all levels and scales, creating an architectural language unique for the project. Architectural styles are avoided, as they limit the options available, and stifle exploration and creativity. However, precedents from all times and cultures are studied to gain experience and knowledge from the past.
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