John Lee: Stories of 2017

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This is the fourth reflection of our Conversations: Stories of 2017 series. John Lee is a Senior Architect practicing in our Perth studio, where he leads projects across education, commercial and residential sectors. 


Seeing the completion of the Capital Square project, the culmination of four years of work, has been a great way to finish 2017.

As part of a redevelopment what was once the old Emu Brewery, this landmark project will re-activate an important site on the western end of the Perth CBD.  It creates a city campus for one of Australia’s leading resource companies, encompassing extensive outdoor areas, a swimming pool, gymnasium and child care facilities.

The public plaza contributes to the pedestrian network and linkages within the city and invites people to share a protected green space with food and beverage possibilities . The thirty two level office tower provides extensive city and river views and incorporates a series of interconnecting stairs and voids to facilitate interaction between floors.

As Project Architect, it’s been tremendously rewarding to see all the hard work by the Cox team during the concept, design, documentation and contract administration phases come to fruition.

Over the past year members of the project team – client , consultants, and contractor – have had a couple of opportunities to come together and celebrate some key project milestones.  One such occasion was the topping out ceremony to mark the pouring of the final level. There’s something quite surreal and memorable about standing on top of a thirty two story building and seeing a large tree (temporarily) craned onto the roof.

Another milestone was the awarding of a 6 Star Greenstar Design certificate, in recognition of the sustainability measures incorporated into the buildings design.

As the building was nearing completion, I was delighted to be involved in a tour of the building for forty enthusiastic UWA architecture students. The high quality of the budding architects sketches and detail drawings, produced after the tour, showed how much they had learnt and gives me plenty of confidence in the future of the profession!

In 2018 I am looking forward to Capital Square coming to life as the tenancies are fitted out, and bringing some of that accumulated knowledge and experience to new projects.