Principal Architect at JPE Design Studio Pty Ltd
(now the Bachelor of Architectural Studies + Master of Architecture)
A career in architecture has taken UniSA graduate, Josephine Evans around Australia, allowed her to push the boundaries of innovation, and connected her across the world. Having worked on a diverse range of projects, including the Athlete’s Village for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the Walkerville Civic and Community Centre in Adelaide, tourist retreats in Perth and the recent new Learning Centre at Adelaide High School, Josephine’s next exciting project is UniSA’s Great Hall.
Tell us about the Great Hall project.
The Great Hall is not as traditional as it sounds. It will be a highly functioning place 24/7, a new home for UniSA Sport and a place for celebration. We very much see this building as a public realm for the city and the campus with green gardens and outdoor terracing, an indoor plaza that connects with and opens to Høj Plaza and specialised facilities for sports and wellbeing including a 25m pool. It will be a destination with a hall that acts as a chameleon, transforming itself into a theatre and events space. Most importantly it will be designed for the unexpected, with hidden services and integrated technology, ensuring the building performs well into the future.
What is your involvement in the project?
To be working with my own university to realise such a vision is quite a defining moment in my career. It’s a unique opportunity to be working and learning from both the Norwegian firm Snøhetta and Adelaide’s own Jam Factory, who form the lead design team in association with JPE Design Studio. JPE is the lead consultant on the project and my role is to lead the consultation with the various university groups and users, working closely with the UniSA project team. I will gather all of the requirements needed to successfully deliver the University’s vision for the project and translate that to the design team both here and in Oslo. Once the design is fully developed I will take the project lead role during the construction of the building to ensure the team delivers a centre of excellence.
What is special about this project?
The Great Hall evokes great expectations. The idea to create a place that not only showcases the University brand and its presence in the city but also reflects UniSA’s culture and attitude is not unique. What is unique is that this building does not facilitate study and will bring people together to share a new university experience that is social, inclusive and also accessible to the public. The culture of the University is to foster collaboration and enterprise, encouraging students and staff to think broadly about what is possible in the 21st century. Bringing a global cultural understanding of public and educational buildings, Snøhetta will inform this conversation. These ingredients will result in a defining project, not only for UniSA’s City West Campus but also for the city and the State of South Australia.
What is the best thing about being an architect?
There is never a dull moment. I really enjoy working on a diverse range of projects and I live and breathe design. The contribution to how we express ourselves through the built environment has a gravitas that can be long lasting way beyond the immediate future. Making and crafting a building or place and learning about different materials and construction techniques is also fascinating for me, especially with technology moving so fast. How we communicate is going digital but our physical environment has a huge impact on how we experience a place and how we do things. I suppose I have always been interested in people and the environment and I go to work every day to explore this relationship. It is a demanding but rewarding career if you can get the balance right and also spend time relaxing and enjoying life, to feed your inspiration.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The first of many highlights was winning a national interior design award for my first interior design, working for Cox Architects in Melbourne on the Chisholm TAFE, Access and Languages building in Dandenong. As a graduate I was assisting across the project on many aspects of the design and took the lead on the interior as the office was so busy. Little did I know how innovative the client would allow me to be. The design set a benchmark for me of what is possible.
What do you still hope to achieve in your career?
I hope to build on my experience in education and public buildings but I’m also very open to any design related projects. I believe in collaboration, particularly between disciplines, and hope to continue working with other designers and passionate clients for years to come.
Highly regarded by its graduates, the 2015 Good Universities Guide rates the Architecture program at UniSA in the top category for Good Teaching, Generic Skills and Overall Satisfaction (Source Australian Graduate Survey). Find out more about studying Architecture visit unisa.edu.au/architecture