Home' InDaily : July 9th 2010 Contents The Partners of
Cowell Clarke are
proud to announce
of two Special
Cowell Clarke Commercial Lawyers
Level 5, 63 Pirie Street
Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Telephone 08 8228 1111
Wills & Estates
The three founding architects of
design firm, HASSELL, wanted to
influence the city in which they lived.
They did, they still do and they will
for generations to come.
The HASSELL story is Adelaide s
story. It s written in the Festival
Centre, Victoria Square, Adelaide Oval
and the O-Bahn.
It s in offices, banks and boulevards.
And last week, HASSELL won the
first of an expected long list of awards
for its extraordinary design of the $27
million Adelaide Zoo entrance and
In the 130 year history of the Royal
Zoological Society, nothing has
transformed the look and the bottom
line of the institution as much as this.
"It has really turned that institu-
tion around," HASSELL managing
principal Mariano DeDuonni said.
"It s a classic example of what you
can do if you do more than just build a
new entrance or a panda enclosure.
"We used all four disciplines within
our firm --planning, interior design,
architecture and landscape archi-
tecture to produce something that
integrates the new structure into the
surrounds, enhances those surrounds
and creates something for people to
The project shows what can be done
by those who have that creative touch
and are in tune with their community.
Visitors to the Zoo now see an
attraction that could be in any city
anywhere in the world, although only
Adelaide could house it so close to the
central business hub a few hundred
The HASSELL story is remarkable
and in many ways contradicts the city
in which it was made.
Colin Hassell was born in England
in 1910 to English parents who
migrated to South Australia and
established Hassell Press.
After his schooling, studies and an
overseas scholarship in architectural
engineering, the young Colin Hassell
worked with Philip Claridge and Jack
McConnell on the Bank of New South
Wales building on the corner of North
Terrace and King William Street.
Later known as Westpac House, now
sadly an empty testimony to slowing
commercial activity post-GFC, the
building was a landmark for its time.
In 1938 Colin became a partner in
Claridge, Hassell and McConnell.
With Claridge s retirement in 1949,
the partnership became Hassell,
McConnell and Partners. The col-
laboration with Jack McConnell lasted
until 1970 when the two decided to
pursue their divergent passions.
The next generation of partners
included John Morphett, who joined
in 1962 after a stint running the Rome
office of famous modernist architect
The Morphett period saw major
change for both Adelaide and the firm,
courtesy of a project initiated by the
then Liberal Premier, Steele Hall.
Hall wanted to build a separate
precinct for the arts, suggesting
Carclew House which still occupies a
prime site at the top of Montefiore Hill.
The alternative site suggested for
the arts precinct was where a set of
old Railway Institute buildings and
the City Baths sat; behind the railway
station and parliament house.
Morphett s view was that the
city should embrace the riverbank,
although the final design of the
Festival Centre actually faced away
from the water.
"The Festival Centre was the
turning point for HASSELL s," Mr
"John had been heavily influenced
during his time in Italy by the simplic-
ity and strength of pre-fabricated
Adelaide's design legacy
The award winning new entrance to Adelaide Zoo opens up the surrounds and embraces the river.
Photo: Peter Bennetts
"But while that was important
for the structure, his main design
influence was the shells of the
Sydney Operas House."
As history shows, Adelaide
started and finished the Festival
Centre while controversy and
costs continued to delay and dog
the Opera House.
Morphett had done what Colin
Hassell had wanted the firm to
do; combine the disciplines of
design and architecture with
the practicalities of engineering
and the realities of the site.
Throughout the 80s and 90s
HASSELL s expansion took hold.
Locally, it began design work
on the O-Bahn and Linear Park
developments -- a 20-year project.
The firm had already expanded
into Melbourne in the late 70s,
but it then opened up offices (or
studios as the creative types call
them) in Sydney.
As Brisbane began to stir with
the build up to WorldExpo in 1988,
HASSELL opened up there and
shortly after began its presence in
In 2000, it expanded further
with offices in Beijing, Shanghai,
Singapore and Bangkok.
By 2007 it had 1100 staff.
Huge residential towers in
Singapore, Perth s biggest
hospital development (The Fiona
Stanley Hospital) and even
underground railways have the
Continued Page 12
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