Design Review Panels

Damien and Jon continue with design review panel representation as an extension of their commitment toward better cities and the contribution that new development can make to the places people inhabit. The impact of development on successful places is significant, where; wind, shade and shelter, overshadowing, activated frontages, permeability and built form are critical considerations. Representation on the various panels includes:

  1. City of Vincent (WA)
  2. Shire of Mornington Design Advisory Panel (Vic)
  3. Office of the Victorian Government Architect Design Review Panel (Vic)
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New Major Wins!

REALMstudios has recently secured a number of major contracts that align with ‘City Making + Liveability’.

We are very excited to announce that REALMstudios will be working on the $42 million upgrade of the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct in Albany for the City of Albany. This win is celebrated together with the lead consultant team members of CCS Strategic, Gresley Abas, Wood + Grieve Engineers and Syrinx. REALMstudios will lead the master planning for the development.

We are also proud to announce our involvement in the Batavia Coast Marina Stage 2 development for Landcorp in Geraldton. REALMstudios will deliver the public realm which will feature a new ‘Station Square’ as the central activation space for the development.

We look forward to developing sophisticated City Making + Liveability strategies for both projects over the coming years.

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REALMstudios Accepted on BMW Panel

REALMstudios is proud to announce their position on the Building Management and Works (BMW) Engineering & Building Specialists Panel for the Department of Finance, Western Australia. The 2014 panel arrangement allows appointment of REALMstudios for Urban Design and Landscape Architectural services. We look forward to establishing a solid and long relationship with the Western Australian Government and other panel members.

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Science Up Design


Water and habitation are inextricably linked. First we built our homes near water for survival. Then we built our cities on great rivers and sea-ports for reasons of security and trade.

For centuries now the men and women who have designed our cities have understood the role water plays in forming a city’s spatial and environmental condition. We’ve understood the role it plays in framing the interstitial spaces within a city – the places that help make a city livable.

But is that all about to change?

Our green bio-systems of cool temperatures, colour, access and enjoyment that support the livable city are under serious threat as climate change delivers increasingly varied weather patterns and a decreased availability of water.

We are now experiencing an extreme challenge to our urban fabric, right across the myriad systems that support our urban existence. To use water as one example, the existing infrastructure is already under stress:

  • Underground infrastructure is under increased pressure due to run-off from higher volume rain events, which accelerates infrastructure deterioration and at the same time augments system requirements, and
  • Above ground bio mass (trees) is senescing (dying) as we continue to starve it of water by channeling and piping polluted water to our creeks, rivers and estuaries.

Put simply, we’re doing it wrong. We’ve been focusing on the provision of traditional infrastructure rather than considering a dispersed and multivalent system. A more modern, integrated, design approach would create a solution that at once cleans water for reuse, removes the pressure from the aging infrastructure, provides for clean discharge into natural local water systems and, at the same time, moderates our challenged urban spaces.

We should look at the problem from a science ‘up’ rather than a spatial/planning framework ‘down’ approach. This is the future for livable cities. And we know it works because the City of Melbourne has been demonstrating the benefits of this approach over a number of years. In Melbourne (one of the world’s most livable cities) design interventions have been used across the city centre to provide for water harvesting and filtration – from laneway tree pits where available space is limited and critical but so too are the trees, to cooling, art-based therapeutic places of social engagement. They make the city a more comfortable place, they make it a more desirable destination for both locals and tourists, and therefore they contribute to a strong city-based economy.

Singapore has already been investing significantly in the science of the city. The city’s water and its ‘place’ have become inseparable in their design and association. Water supply and water cleansing processes have become central to the imageability of the city (how easy it is to visually imagine) and its many new city branding projects (such as Gardens by the Bay).

Gardens by the Bay 02  High Line

Gardens by the Bay 01

Here the design of hard and soft infrastructure, architectural and landscape features, sporting and entertainment amenities, are all integrated as part of their water and environmental catchments, painting the city as ‘green’ and providing the city with a clean, potable water supply.

This is where design, science and policy intersect and frame the potential of a city, informing its movement patterns, its architectural footprint, its character and social priority.

Another example of economic and cultural benefits to be gained through taking an integrated design response (but at the smaller intervention scale) is the Highline, in New York City. It is a transformative project where the thoughtful reconsideration of ageing infrastructure and ecologies have registered on the world stage of city making.

The city is a system in motion – an urban ecology of a constant information feed and corresponding change. The design of its urban systems are best understood across a variety of scales (capturing both the macro and the micro) because, regardless of scale, it must once again be understood in the context of the broader catchment.

This design represents a “science up” approach. It involved not only deep research but, importantly, applying that newly acquired knowledge to help find the appropriate mix of technologies (and their possible applications) to resolve the problems at hand. They considered both the broad scale and the local – in water harvesting, in energy generation and consumption, in mobility and accessibility, and in ecology.  That is to say, in the capture, storage, treatment, use and reuse for all of these systems in a ‘city or place as catchment’ approach.

Through design consideration at both the macro and micro there is a great opportunity to explore and influence the quality of our city spaces, our urban ‘health’, the livability and desirability of a place, the mitigation of climate change impacts on the urban microclimate, social wellbeing and, ultimately, the economic performance of the city.

Jon Shinkfield

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Aviopolis presentation by REALMstudios Director Damien Pericles at UNSW

I really enjoyed presenting my 2006 ETH Masters work titled ‘Conduit Aviopolis’ to 4th year LA students at UNSW. The work focused on concepts for the Zurich Airport in Switzerland. The UNSW students are exploring designs for Sydney’s proposed airport at Badgery Creek. My thesis work was recently published in

It was great to reconnect with the faculty and hear Alexander Washburn talk about New York in his new role as Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of the Built Environment. Thanks to Catherine Evans.

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The Garden….A Microcosm of the City

It’s a question of how we see it:

An expression of the values of city making, adopting the posture of the seasons.

It is an integrated, connected, convivial, calm, cool, therapeutic and productive place.

It is a desirable place to inhabit.

Photo 3  seasonalhow we see it-1  productive

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China Town Revitalisation

In one of our first commissions the MRA approached REALMstudios to assist with generation of concepts for urban renewal of Perth’s China Town. Proposals explored long and short term placemaking strategies to achieve both quick and effective as well as strategic urban design outcomes.

China Town - Groundswell

Montage of Nicks Lane at rear of China Town featuring an inflatable Panda.

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Climate Ready and Water Sensitive

Your Invitation

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities is pleased to announce its October industry event, Climate Ready & Water Sensitive, capturing contemporary issues of city livability across the broad church of urban design.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Location: Monash Law Chambers, Melbourne
(555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia)

Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
(Pre-event refreshments from 5:00pm)


1. Heat, Health and Urban Design

Nigel Tapper will discuss the links between urban heat, health and thermal comfort and the role of urban design in improving the thermal comfort of cities.

Professor Nigel Tapper is Professor of Environmental Science, Monash University

2. An Urban Forest Strategy

Ian Shears will provide an overview of the transformative work City of Melbourne is undertaking to develop climate resilience and discuss contemporary approaches to integrated water management, urban forestry and open space planning.

Ian Shears, Manager, Urban Landscapes Branch, City of Melbourne

3. Sustainability Indexing and Industry Findings

From Stockland’s research program Ramana James will present what Stockland see as the greatest drivers of liveability and what part climate readiness plays in this.

Ramana James is Stockland’s National Sustainability Manager

Panel Chair – Jon Shinkfield

Jon will chair the panel of speakers and make opportunity for discussion and debate between speakers and the floor around currency, appropriateness, and future directions.

This is a free event but registration is essential.

Visit: for more details
Source: https://climateready-watersensitive.eventb…

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REALMstudios Incorporates

An exciting moment has come with the incorporation of REALMstudios.

We are a trans-disciplinary studio-based design practice with locations in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth servicing the private and public sectors across Australia and internationally in Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and Graphic Legibility.

Please visit for more information.

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