Some of Australia’s leading design thinkers converged at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus on Friday to share in an inspiring vision for the future at the inaugural Illawarra Design Excellence Symposium.
More than 150 people flocked to the event, which featured thought leaders from diverse fields including urban planning, architecture, interior design, development, landscape architecture, landscaping, construction and infrastructure.
Presented by Innovation Campus and the Property Council of Australia with support from major sponsor Lendlease, the event was labelled an unqualified success.
“Our primary aim was to inform and influence decision-makers, encouraging designers, builders and government bodies to create spaces that enrich the lives of those living and working in the Illawarra,” Property Council of Australia’s Regional Director – Illawarra, Michelle Guido said.
“It was fantastic to see a diversity of people from across academia, industry and government taking part. There was a palpable energy around the potential for positive change, particularly in harnessing sustainability and technology in the built environment to future-proof our region and enhance the health and wellbeing of its people.”
Attendees heard from a wide range of expert speakers including UOW Sustainable Buildings Research Centre Director, Senior Professor Paul Cooper, Senior Development Manager for Lendlease Retirement Living, Arabella Rohde, Clinton Ostwald and Graham McCabe of Urbis, and SMART Infrastructure Facility Director, Senior Professor Pascal Perez.
Placemaking was a central conversation point, with participants enjoying the opportunity to experience design excellence in action through exploring parts of Innovation Campus.
UOW Commercial Developments Unit Director, Chuck Stone, said the campus is a living demonstration of how well-designed spaces can transform the way users experience them.
“Innovation Campus was carefully designed to encourage people out of their offices and into shared spaces to connect, collaborate and be part of a thriving community that enriches their every day,” said Stone.
“Through the Symposium experiential program, people were able to step inside and experience our Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, Illawarra Flame House and iAccelerate. We also offered walking tours of our dementia-friendly streetscape and a design excellence showcase highlighting other innovative projects in the region.”
The event culminated in a sunset social event for attendees to enjoy music, food, drinks and networking while taking in the campus’ spectacular ocean and escarpment views.
Story by Jen Waters.