Ar. Wong Mun Summ & Ar. Richard Hassell, WOHA Architects
Singapore-based architecture practice 'WOHA Architects,' founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 1994, is renowned world over for its constant evolution and innovation. The firm focuses on the built environment and explores the intersections of culture, context, history, nature, climate, sustainability and social behavior to inform innovative design.
Born in 1962, Wong Mun Summ graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1989, whilst Richard Hassell was born in 1966 and graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1989. Both were then employed by Kerry Hill Architects in Singapore, where they realized that they shared a logical approach to solving architectural problems, determined by the requirements of a building's program rather than by the form-making opportunities.
In their early years of practice, the partnership became well known throughout Southeast Asia for its crisply detailed houses in Singapore. In 2000, when the partnership won the open competitions for two MRT railway stations in Singapore and the commission for the 1 Moulmein Rise, apartment block, the gentlemen decided to focus on public and commercial architecture rather than houses.
Design PhilosophyThe work of Mun Summ and Richard has no fixed style and each of their project constitutes a specific response to the potential of the building's program and its site. The firm's design philosophy rests on the belief that each project is unique, and the design should evolve through the particular characteristics of each project. The architect, for his part, is responsible for creating diverse, innovative and exciting environments. The result should add a humane and desirable environment to the world, resulting in a continuous improvement of the constructed environment.
The Firm believes that good design must arise from thoughtful process of study and research which is combined with technical knowledge, social and political understanding, should then be synthesized through creative skill and artistic judgment. Robustness, attention to detail, proportions, and scale, together with common sense, stoicism and a sense of humor ensure a completed project that is a step towards a better world.
In WOHA's architecture a profound awareness of local context and tradition is intertwined with an ongoing exploration of contemporary architectural form-making and ideas, thus creating a unique fusion of practicality and invention. Environmental principles have always been fundamental to the work of the practice, guided by a commitment to responsive place-making and to the creation of an invigorating and sustainable architecture.
WOHA's particular focus is in innovation towards better future, rather than specific building types. The firm conceptualizes all aspects of the architectural process – master planning, formal architecture, interior design, landscape design, lighting, and furniture design – within a holistic vision for each project.
The practice has built projects – throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Australia and currently has projects under construction in Singapore, India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. WOHA's work has been recognized with several important international awards for excellence in design, including the RIBA Lubetkin Prize (2011), several RIBA International Awards (2010 and 2011), the World Architecture Festival Awards (2009 and 2010) and the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2007) to name a few.