HDR’s new Sydney office marks business milestone
Architects, engineers, convene in HDR’s new WELL-standard workplace, strengthening its multi-disciplinary offering
HDR, specialising in architecture and engineering, has designed its new 1,050-square metre
office in Sydney’s iconic 25 Martin Place building, setting it up for a Gold WELL rating.
WELL is a certification and global rating system that focuses on the way buildings can
improve human comfort and enhance health and wellness.
In HDR’s new office, breakout spaces, exercise and stress management rooms and
programs, parent facilities and high-quality lighting and air conditioning put staff wellbeing
high on the agenda.
Meanwhile, low VOC (volatile organic compound) products, sustainable materials, services
design, and repurposed furniture deliver on HDR’s sustainability commitments.
The new workspace also brings HDR’s architects, engineers, interior designers and
sustainability experts under the same roof for the first time, allowing the organisation to
further strengthen and diversify its scope of work.
Cate Cowlishaw, HDR’s managing principal of architecture, says “Our new office is a
physical representation of our brand, our culture, and a place where our talented people can
gather to drive innovation and new ways of thinking about the built environment.”
Cowlishaw has led the Sydney studio move, along with Garry Wall, HDR’s managing
director of building engineering services.
It comes more than two years after the U.S.-headquartered company HDR acquired building
services consultant Hurley Palmer Flatt Group and commissioning agent Andrew Reid. It is
also nearly nine years since HDR acquired the Rice Daubney architecture practice in 2013.
Cowlishaw adds, “Our design practice has grown under the HDR name, winning new
business on the strength of our global expertise and integrated engineering, design and
sustainability capabilities. Our new office symbolises yet another huge step forward.”
HDR’s current, expansive suite of expertise covers data centres, hospitals, vaccine and
other research laboratories, education, defence and justice facilities, workplaces, and retail
Building engineering services managing director, Wall says, “Our holistic approach to design
and engineering presents a progressive and sustainable opportunity for our clients to tap
into our vast pool of talent in one stop.”
Collaboration areas and contemporary design were design priorities for HDR’s new office.
The fit-out has six meeting rooms, four meeting nooks, two quiet rooms, a samples room,
design review space, wellness room, 103 workstations, and spaces for impromptu and
A hospitality-inspired ‘business hub’ welcomes visitors and includes a reception, event
space, meeting rooms, collaboration areas and a kitchen. Designed for ultimate flexibility, all
furniture is moveable to accommodate over 100 people.
The use of colour to differentiate collaboration space from formal work zones has earned the
office a shortlisting in the 2022 Dulux Colour Awards.
Wall says, “Working together to design our new Gold WELL standard office underscores our
unique approach to sustainability and the opportunities for us to better serve our clients. We
are confident that the integration of our global architecture and engineering experience will
enable us to provide unparalleled expertise in diverse buildings across Asia Pacific.”
Ahead of the office move, HDR restructured its talent pool to help drive a new growth phase.
Cowlishaw’s appointment in January 2021 to managing principal made her the first female to
lead the architectural practice, and one of just a few women leading major design studios in
Other strategic appointments include Jordan Kirrane as HDR’s engineering sustainability
lead, Jacqui Straesser, Bruce Crook and Mark Saunders bolstering HDR’s healthcare and
education leadership, Simon Fleet as design director, defence specialist Chetan
Rajasekariah, and James Palmer as commissioning management leader.
Cowlishaw concludes, “We are immensely proud of the depth of talent we have assembled,
a team that is committed to producing provocative and compelling design and engineering
that inspires people and improves the human condition.”