Peter St. Clair

Sydney architecture practice Scott Carver has added three new senior staff to the executive team – Peter St. Clair as design director, Dajon Veldman as urban design and master planning sector leader, and Philip Bowen as retail sector leader

The appointments have been made in expectation that the current flurry of infrastructure and residential apartment projects in Sydney will result in a growing market for placemaking projects, managing director Rodney Paesler told The Fifth Estate.

Mr Paesler said that once the current road, rail and residential projects reach completion, there will be a need for social infrastructure such as retail, recreational and public space developments.

Dajon Veldman (left) and Philip Bowen.

The three new staff have complementary talents. Mr Bowen has a background in retail including attracting anchor tenants and creating “destination” retail. Mr Veldman has worked in “character building” of places, and Mr St. Clair’s expertise is in bringing these elements into the built form.

One of the trends Mr Paesler said will shape the way places are made in Sydney is the shift away from the centralised CBD model to more flexible workstyles and decentralised businesses. The universities and major hospitals are becoming centres that higher paid jobs aggregate around.

Many of the new estates, such as Wentworth Point, are also attracting people who work from home, and the growing Asian population is creating higher demand for places to eat out, and for smaller entertainment places such as karaoke bars.

More people are working in mobile ways also, using technology as the platform, and seeking spaces like cafes, plazas and other shared spaces to replace the social setting of a regular workplace. The growing concerns around gridlocked roads are also encouraging people to look locally for their amenities and social life.

“I think the new projects will be retail-led,” Mr Paesler said.

“We are looking at Sydney becoming a networked city, rather than a centralised city.”

There is also a need, he said, for the new Transit Oriented Developments to develop a sense of character and place around nodes such as rail stations, which gives them a unique identity and increases amenity and interactivity. Potential placemaking elements include facilities such as parks, gyms, childcare centres and cafes.

The practice now has 55 staff working across projects including mixed-use and residential projects, hospitality, public space projects and urban renewal.

Mr Paesler said it is in the process of hiring more talent, as the practice workload continues to increase.