Profile of WOHA, headquartered in Singapore. Three projects submitted by WOHA have been published on Architecture News Plus (ANP).
WOHA, one of Southeast Asia’s best known and most awarded architectural practices, was founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 1994. WOHA’s architecture is notable for its constant evolution and innovation: each project constitutes a specific response to the potential of the building’s program and its site. 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. WOHA 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. 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 earliest projects comprised a series of critically acclaimed private houses in Singapore, which were followed by a variety of larger scale projects throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Australia. These project types range from apartment towers to luxury resorts, mass-transit stations, condominiums, hotels, educational institutions, and public buildings. Recently completed projects by WOHA include the Newton Suites and 1 Moulmein Rise apartment towers in Singapore, the Alila Villas Uluwatu resort in Bali, The Met apartment tower in Bangkok, the Stadium and Bras Basah MRT stations in Singapore, the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport, the InterContinental Sanya resort in China, and the Singapore School of the Arts. WOHA has won an unprecedented amount of architectural awards for a Southeast Asian practice: they received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 for 1 Moulmein Rise, they collected four awards in the RIBA International Awards of 2011 and 2010 for Alila Villas Uluwatu, School of the Arts, The Met and Bras Basah MRT Station, and they won the International Highrise Award 2010 for The Met. As an emphatic indication of WOHA’s versatility and global recognition, the practice won two titles in two consecutive years (in four separate categories) at the World Architecture Festival: WOHA are the only architects to have achieved such a distinction.
Both Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell are actively involved in architectural education: they have lectured at universities in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, the USA, and the United Kingdom, and Hassell was an adjunct professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, from 2006 to 2009. The founding directors have also contributed to professional activities in Singapore: Wong served on the board of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority from 1999 to 2005, and as a member of various design consultancy and advisory panels for large development proposals in Singapore, whilst Hassell is a current board member of the DesignSingapore Council, and the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.
Text: Patrick Bingham-Hall, Publisher/Photographer