Prominent architect and Curtin alumnus Peter Lee’s rules for a project are clear. It must be fit for purpose, respectful of its context, have a positive effect on the human condition and above all – it must be beautiful.
This passion for place combined with his considerable experience and strengths in master planning and urban design have been central to Lee’s success over the last decade as the director of HASSELL, a multidisciplinary design practice with studios in Australia, China, South-East Asia and the United Kingdom.
“Being involved with such a brilliant group of people at HASSELL, where the work we do effects the city and its people in a really positive way, is incredibly rewarding,” Lee says.
Under his leadership, the Perth studio has played an important role in designing significant projects to enhance the city.
“We employ a large number of architects, landscape architects, interior designers and urban planners. And being multidisciplinary, we are a very collaborative organisation,” he explains.
“The sheer scale of projects – such as Fiona Stanley Hospital, Brookfield Place, Midland Hospital, one40william (Gordon Stephenson House) and various master plan projects – place us in a special bracket.”
His deep understanding of, and commitment to, urban renewal has culminated in a number of awards, including the 2011 Australian Institute of Architect Awards’ Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design and George Temple Poole Award for one40william.
Most recently, Lee has been recognised by Curtin University – where he serves an Adjunct Professor – with the Alumni Awards’ 2015 Professional Achievement Award: Humanities.
“I have always admired Peter’s support for tertiary education funding and the personal investment he makes to support graduates and the design profession more broadly,” writes HASSELL Principal Architect Andrew Low in his letter of support for the award nomination.
“This view is fundamentally driven by Peter’s strong belief that investment in education can be paid back many times over in economic, social and cultural terms, representing a significant return on investment. Peter believes this is the greatest investment a country can make in its citizens.”
Epitomising this dedication to education is the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between HASSELL and Curtin University. The agreement provides the framework for the two organisations to develop collaborative projects that support Curtin students by providing invaluable industry engagement.
Already, the collaboration has created opportunities for Curtin’s School of Built Environment students. Several HASSELL staff serve as course tutors, providing professional experience and mentorship to enhance the student experience. In addition, HASSELL funds the Architecture Design Prize for students and as well as four internships in planning – two at their Hong Kong studio and two in Singapore.
In his scant free time, Lee contributes his time to several other industry organisations. Through the Property Council of Australia’s Women in Property mentoring program, he is actively involved in mentoring the next generation of women in the property and construction industry. He is also on the board of directors for the not-for-profit organisation FORM, which is dedicated to advocating and developing creativity in Western Australia.