Susumu Horikawa from Nikken Sekkei shares global perspectives on green building innovations

September 27, 2017

Susumu Horikawa, Executive Officer and Principal with the M&E Engineering Division of our alliance partner Nikken Sekkei, recently visited our Melbourne studio to share his expertise on the latest innovations in sustainability in Japan. Susumu-san has been involved in many award winning sustainability projects and strives for the unification of environmental building service design and architectural programs to excel in building performance.

In honour of World Green Building Week, we caught up with him to get his insights into sustainability in the built environment.

1. What is Nikken Sekkei’s philosophy on sustainability?

First of all, we try to get to know our clients’ thought processes well. With our tag line “EXPERIENCE, INTEGRATED” at the forefront, we make an effort to provide our clients with new value by integrating architecture, structure and MEP technologies. 

In addition, we often apply Japanese traditional techniques such as “Sudare” (a shading device), “Engawa” (porches with eaves) and “Uchimizu” (a water sprinkling system) to new projects.

2. What sustainable innovations are currently occurring globally? What is the focus on now?

New technologies such as radiant cooling systems, TABS and lighting environment design based on perceived brightness tend to be applied to our new projects. Thermal Active Building Systems (TABS) is an air-conditioning system for which heat capacity is utilized. The lighting system we employ provides optimal brightness for occupants, with consideration for not only the amount of light falling on a surface (illuminance) but also the amount of light entering the eye (luminance).

We also regard IoT as innovative because we believe it not only contributes to effective control of building facilities, but also management of occupants, which raises productivity.

3. What sustainability trends do you foresee in the future?

As many people are interested in WELL Building Standards, we believe that careful attention to an occupant’s health, as well as energy savings, are becoming more important.

4. What are some sustainable initiatives you have implemented within Nikken projects?

The initiatives I mentioned previously such as radiation cooling systems and lighting environment design are embodied in our projects including the YKK80 Building (the headquarters of YKK Corporation) and Daikin TIC (the R&D Center of Daikin Industries Ltd.).  Both projects received ASHRAE Technology Awards as well as LEED Platinum certification.

TABS is adopted in Shogakukan HQ, a famous Japanese publishing company, which is recognised as the next generation sustainable building.  

5. What steps can clients/landlords/developers take to add value or future proof their assets?

Clients, landlords and developers tend to rate buildings which can enhance an occupant’s health and productivity highly. I therefore believe they will focus on achieving certification for LEED and the WELL Building Standard to ensure people understand how attractive such buildings are.

Buchan promotes Allen Lucini to Principal

August 25, 2017

New principal will elevate culture and design. 

The Buchan Group`s newly-appointed Principal Allen Lucini believes that architecture is about people and spaces - and is ultimately a social responsibility.

Allen, who has played key leadership roles in master planning and development for a range of residential, commercial and retail projects in Australia and overseas, says that whilst architects have a responsibility to fulfil their client’s requirements, they should do so with a focus on the end user experience.

“Architecture is, first and foremost, about the design of spaces. These spaces become places for people to use and experience - Architecture is after all, a social responsibility.”

Allen, based in Melbourne, has a keen interest in promoting design, the practice of architecture, creativity and the evolution of design culture within Buchan.

”As Architects and Designers we have to understand context and be conscious of our legacy. Throughout the design process we have to ensure that the final product is the best it can be.”

In his most recent venture as lead designer on Mall Plaza Vespucio, Allen’s designs are an integral influence on the future vision of an existing major retail centre in Santiago, Chile.

Due for completion in 2018, the development is set to become the cultural and community “heart and soul of Vespucio,” with a focus on public realm and civic offering. Allen’s design for the project draws on Buchan’s world leading experience in retail planning, customer experience and place making to build upon the existing urban fabric and reimagine the local area.

Since joining Buchan, Allen has contributed notable value to the practice and reinforced the studio reputation though his unique skill set. Drawing on his exposure in the commercial and retail sectors, he has strengthened the firm`s design credentials and supported the venture into new market areas through master planning and international projects. 

Andries Meyer, Acting CEO of Buchan, says that Allen’s strong urban design capability is one of the key attributes for continued growth of the business.

“Allen’s social and design leadership skills are a hugely positive influence on our design culture and emerging talent, and will assist in creating the ideal environment to grow forward-looking design and thought leadership.

“Buchan undertakes local and international projects and Allen’s influence will be reflected in all that we do.  We are thrilled to promote him to Principal.”

Buchan Wins Best Refurbishment or Renovation over $5M

August 25, 2017

Parmelia House was originally constructed in the early 1970’s. A series of adaptations over the past decades had left the foyer with an incongruous mix of elements and styles.

Buchan’s design sought to update and harmonise finishes throughout the foyer, incorporate space for a new co-working tenancy, and provide equitable universal access.

A concierge desk was constructed with back-lit acrylic cladding. The same cladding forms a dynamic backdrop to the café servery, drawing attention from across the street.

An external landscaped timber deck was created over an underutilised external staircase to the basement, which has been replaced with a new internal staircase. The existing revolving entry door has been replaced with a frameless glass airlock and auto-sliding doors. A contemporary selection of café and corporate foyer furniture complete the effect.

The project won the award for Best Refurbishment or Renovation over $5M at the 2017 Master Builders Excellence in Construction Awards(WA) in July this year, for Credentia Construction.

Buchan throws open studio doors for Open House Melbourne

July 25, 2017

For the second year running, the Buchan Group will welcome Melburnians into its studio in the historic Mail Exchange Building as part of Open House Melbourne.

Visitors will have the opportunity to journey from the building’s magnificent façade and up the heritage listed staircase before taking a peek behind the sheer entrance curtains into creative design life in the industrial chic studio.

The Mail Exchange originally opened in 1917 to relieve the congestion at the nearby Melbourne GPO on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Street. As one of Melbourne’s earliest examples of Classical Revival Architecture, it’s proving a very apt and inspiring home for Buchan’s world renowned designers to shape the buildings of the future.

“Last year’s tours of our studio booked out very quickly, and we are delighted to once again open our doors to the public and offer a glimpse behind the scenes where the design magic happens,” said Principal Grant Withers.

“Visitors will have the chance to wander through the old and the new, exploring the history of the Mail Exchange and our contemporary studio fit out designed to inspire collaboration and conversation.”

The huge open plan space will feature a hub of activity to engage and delight our visitors.  3D models and virtual reality technology will take guests on an immersive journey of the spaces and buildings we have designed, and projections of the studio’s fit out evolution, our history, work and relevance, including projects by our alliance partner Nikken Sekkei, will get to the heart of who we are.  The floor to ceiling whiteboard and ping pong table will give a symbolic taste of the team engagement and energy that drives Buchan to create!

Guided tours of the Mail Exchange’s historical staircase and Buchan’s studio will take place on Sunday 30th July between 10am and 3pm.

For more information visit the Open House Melbourne website.

Buchan’s Shanghai team celebrates move to new studio

July 19, 2017

The Buchan Group’s Shanghai team has opened the doors to their new home on the twenty seventh floor of Shanghai’s prestigious InterContinental Business Centre in the heart of Jing An’s commercial and business hub.

The new studio was officially opened at a recent launch party by the Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner and Deputy Consul-General (Commercial) Richard Coote.

Following formalities guests headed downstairs to the entrancing garden terrace to get the party in full swing and enjoy a gourmet Australian Chinese bbq.

“We were thrilled to be able to celebrate the occasion with our clients, friends and colleagues including Mr Bob Xu of Austrade and Buchan’s valued alliance partners Nikken Sekkei,” said Eddie Cassidy, head of the China business.

“It was a great night and we were mesmerized by the beauty of the downstairs space and the potential of our new facilities.”

The new studio presents a fresh new canvas for our Shanghai designers.  Inspired by Buchan’s Melbourne studio with a contemporary, light filled open plan space, the studio offers a new base to promote Buchan’s expertise and international portfolio of design led projects to Chinese companies and international developers.

“The move marks an exciting new chapter for the Shanghai team with the new space designed to maximise collaboration with each other and with our clients,” said Eddie.

“We very much look forward to our future here.”

Five Star Luxury, Momi Bay, Fiji

July 10, 2017

The first guests at Fiji’s new Momi Bay Resort have started to check-in following the completion of the AUD$90 million five-star luxury development designed by The Buchan Group.

Located at Momi Bay, 45 minutes from Fiji’s Nadi International Airport, the 250-room resort is centred on a 21 hectare lagoon.  It features 92 free-standing beachside bures, 22 overwater bures and 136 rooms in the hotel’s main accommodation buildings.

The Marriott-operated resort was designed by Buchan for the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), and responds to a growing demand for luxury overwater bures in Fiji.

Buchan Group Gold Coast-based Director Brett Saville said the team drew on their extensive tourism expertise across the Pacific to develop a complementary design for the new hotel.

“It was crucial for Buchan to develop a design that was sensitive to the resort’s picturesque setting and attuned to the resort’s unique point of difference,” Mr Saville said.

“The team made sure to incorporate the initial work undertaken on site before the hotel’s construction ceased after the GFC, ensuring consistency and cost efficiency across all elements of the resort.

“We also sourced local materials wherever possible including rock from the site, traditional timbers and woven ceiling panels to ensure the resort looks authentic yet contemporary. 

“Each bure features large glass windows and an expansive balcony to maximise the spectacular views from each room and to provide unmatched accessibility to the lagoon and the beaches.

“Our strong attention to detail, while fulfilling the operator’s design guidelines, has resulted in a desirable destination which is sure to attract visitors from all corners of the globe.”

The resort also features expansive function rooms for weddings and events, marina facilities, three signature food and beverage outlets, as well as a range of recreational activities and services across the 42-hectare site. There is more space available for significant expansion.

Patterns of Natural Light at The Atrium, Greenwood Plaza

July 7, 2017

North Sydney has a new lunchtime destination, the Atrium. The casual dining food court has undergone extensive renovations to the tune of $9 million and is now open inside Greenwood Plaza.

Buchan’s initial design concept was inspired by the stoma cell, incorporating discrete, varied zones to offer relief and contrast from the pace and rigid structure of the North Sydney business district.

The design approach was driven by the fast-paced demographic of the broad clientele. It was imperative to ensure the space responded to the varied target market to redefine Greenwood as an engaging and inspiring space through integration of a rich interplay of finishes and textures.

Introducing a material palette that reflects the sophistication of the demographic of The Atrium while recognising younger professionals and students as regular patrons was a consideration throughout the design process.

Design elements and finishes inspired by the patterns in nature were selected and applied in an eclectic way. Natural light, and the way nature plays with this light, was a particular inspiration for the design solution.  Through randomising and repeating the patterns playfully, an intriguing, uplifting and unique space was created at Greenwood Plaza.


July 5, 2017

The Buchan Group’s design for Launceston Airport Terminal has won the Commercial Award in the 2017 Australian Institute of Architects Awards (Tasmanian Chapter).

The annual Tasmanian Architecture Awards recognise the finest accomplishments of Tasmanian architects. The Commercial Award honours the project judged to showcase excellence in design in the commercial sector.

Commenting on the win, project director and head of design at The Buchan Group, Grant Withers, said it was gratifying for the Buchan Group to be recognised for the quality of their design.

"The team is excited and honoured to receive this significant award as it highlights our commitment and proven track record in transforming commercial and retail environments.

“It is a very modest project and the design philosophy is simple – moving the terminal closer to the runway so that the public can feel the excitement of air travel. The floor-to-ceiling glass façade creates a big picture window to view the planes take-off and land, surrounded by the striking mountain ranges beyond.

“Our design merges the natural environment with modern retail principles to create a space where every nuance and aesthetic subtlety employed in the design is informed by its deep connection with the landscape and region to improve the visitor experience.”

The jury described the space as celebrating “the typically informal personal welcome that Launceston is proud of.”

Named award winners progress to the National Architecture Awards to be announced in Canberra on Thursday 2 November.

Connecting Rural and Urban Communities, The Hub at Hornby

July 4, 2017

Shopping Centre Investments Limited appointed The Buchan Group to provide design, documentation, building consenting, and construction monitoring for Christchurch’s Enviro-Mark Gold accredited shopping centre The Hub, Hornby in a $65M facelift
featuring a 6000m² anchor store, 70 specialty retail stores and a contemporary food court.

Transformation of The Hub begun in late 2012 after a land swap with the Christchurch City Council enabled the realignment of Chalmers Street and an increase of the centre footprint to 25,000m².

Buchan Senior Associate Daren Alderson said delivering a design that built up to the new road boundaries, maximising the site, enabled the team to create an aesthetically pleasing exterior and highly functional interior.

“We approached the road realignment as an opportunity to incorporate curved elements to the façade, creating a spectacular view for motorists entering and passing the centre,” he said.
“The section facing Carmen Road and Chalmers Street now takes on a visually interesting form, leading to the substantial composite aluminium clad northern entry with two building elements linking the road to the building now clad in perforated stainless steel.

Vertical metal and perforated stainless steel cladding, graphic panels on which the Centre has elected to install Maori artworks, a black aluminium ribbon feature, and stepped parapets give the building interest in scale and form. Internally, a distinctive black ceiling recess, mirrored on the floor in terrazite and surface mounted black lights run from the main north entrance to the far side of the food court, leading the eye along the retail front.

The new continuous concourse links the existing supermarket to the new anchor store, providing room for specialty stores, a new central food court, new amenities and parents’ room, and a new pedestrian entry from the expanded vehicle parking above.

A natural palette of grey, black and white was rolled out for the entire centre to integrate the new build and modernise the existing shopping space.

The Hub, Hornby centralises Christchurch’s southern rural and urban communities anchoring the adjacent bulky goods retail and trade supply precincts.

CapitaMall Westgate delivers new retail and lifestyle heart

June 16, 2017

CapitaMall Westgate recently opened in Wuhan, China presenting a neighbourhood style mixed use development to address the retail and social aspirations of residents in this ever expanding city.

The development, by CaptiaMalls Asia, combines retail, entertainment and leisure spaces, offices and SOHO (small office/home office) apartments into a middle to high end commercial and retail complex.

The 400,000m2 project sits on a 70,400m2 site area located at a major road intersection adjacent to an above ground light rail network and major underground metro station.

Associate Kevin Adasko said the project sets a new benchmark for developments in the region.

“CapitaMall Westgate presents a progressive and exciting lifestyle destination for local residents, with everything they need in a single, accessible location.

“Retail needs were previously under-serviced for the region’s growing middle-income population, and the development has not only created a significant shopping hub, but a social heart for people to connect.”

The Buchan Group provided master planning, architectural, interior, landscaping and signage design services for the project which links people to the spaces and promotes a sense of community through the art of place making.

A large sunken plaza at the major western entry point connects the towers and the adjacent residential precinct to the retail mall, whilst extensive green spaces at the entry and on roof terraces extend the public domain throughout the development.

An ice rink within the entertainment complex acts as the central focal point of the project, overlooked by tiered dining precincts on the floors above. A magnificent full height glass window frames the precinct, presenting views over the mall entrance and building a strong connection to the wider community.

Buchan hosts 2017 Asset Enhancement Symposium

May 19, 2017

From L to R: Grant Withers, Buchan Group; Julian Boot, Equiem; Shinya Kogawa, Nikken Sekkei Construction Management; Josef Seidler, Vicinity Centres.

The Buchan Group recently hosted the 2017 Asset Enhancement Symposium, aimed at bringing together key industry colleagues to explore trends in unlocking the latent value of buildings.

The event was the third in a series of exclusive symposiums hosted by Buchan, following the 2015 and 2016 seminars which focussed on Retail and Mixed-Use developments respectively. 

This year’s event turned the spotlight on developing assets to their full potential, with a panel of leading industry specialists examining the changing needs of building owners and the benefits of refurbishment, renovation, adaptation, technology and future proofing.

Buchan Principal Andrew Mackenzie said the symposium sought to begin a conversation around advancing innovation and opportunities in asset management.  

“Asset Enhancement is certainly topical right now.  It is an integral part of what Buchan, our clients and consultants do, as we work to transform, and optimize the value of, multiple development types across the globe.”

“Our expert line up of speakers provided some truly innovative and diverse insights into revamping assets to enrich the customer experience and create maximum value for the client.”

The panel was made up of Josef Seidler, Regional General Manager of Development at Vicinity Centres; Julian Boot, CTO at Equiem; Shinya Kogawa, Director at Nikken Sekkei Construction Management in Japan; and Grant Withers, Principal at The Buchan Group.

Collectively they discussed the customers’ influence on major asset management; the role of technology in enhancing buildings and the user experience; and exemplar case studies demonstrating how

Brisbane Showgrounds King’s Co-op

May 18, 2017

The regeneration of Brisbane’s Showgrounds will see pavilions and food outlets transform into the social, creative and community retail concept, Kings Co-op in the coming months. 

Located at the northern end of King Street in Bowen Hills, Kings Co-op forms a significant part of the history of the Brisbane Exhibition, known locally as the “Ekka”, and includes the Royal Snack Bar, Sugar Pavilion and the Dairy Hall Pavilion. Featuring sections constructed progressively during the past century, the Kings Co-op redevelopment will showcase prime retail, food and beverage offerings, and provide seasonal function spaces and a multi-deck carpark. 

In a design that links the cultural heritage and urban future aspirations of the Brisbane Showgrounds Master Plan, the transformed space will incorporate rescued materials from key warehouse and pavilion structures within the showgrounds precinct. Led by Senior Associate Paul Watson The Buchan Group is working with RNA’s Joint Venture Partner Lendlease on stage three of the 15 year $2.9 billion Showgrounds regeneration project.