“We were blessed with a couple of architects who were - and i don’t use this word lightly - evangelical in their belief that understanding and critiquing and optimising workflows was vital to achieving a good outcome.”
- Andrew Hind, Agilent Technologies
Public Realm Lab is a design practice that connects strategy, culture and place.
We do this through masterplanning, briefing, architectural design and research.
Public Realm Lab is led by Anna Maskiell and Philip Ward.
Anna has lived and worked across Australia and China, following and feeding a deep curiosity for human habitation and patters and of occupation. She is obsessed with the impact of our built environments - how it helps us situate ourselves in time and space, how it tells us through its qualities, comfort, usefulness and responsiveness that we are valued, valuable and that other are too.
Anna is the 2019 recipient of the Marten Bequest, the most generous award to support the professional development of Australian Architects through international travel. She has also been awarded the University of Melbourne’s Dean’s Honour Award (2008) and the Australian Institute of Architect’s prestigious Dulux Study Tour for emerging Architects (2011).
Philip has over 30 years experience ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of architectural practice. He has designed and manufactured office furniture, ran a commercial fit out building company, worked client-side for Federal government agencies, worked in facilitation and business consulting, and led multi-disciplinary teams in leading Melbourne practices including Woods Bagot and S2F to deliver large scale health and university projects.
Philip bring his incredible breadth of knowledge and experience to all Public Realm Lab projects, working with our clients’ senior leadership teams to articulate a shared vision and map a path towards it.
Philip spends his spare time researching the origins of the city, walking any waterfront he can access and obsessing over ways in which our built environments can respond to the endlessly shifting requirements of our world.
WE WORK FOR
Public Realm Lab works for Councils, developers, Universities, corporations, government departments and not-for-profits to align strategy, culture and place.
Your drivers are our starting point: responding to growth in student numbers, consolidating staff to build a single culture, creating a built environment that is responsive to changing business needs, delivering community facilities that reflect a changed policy or community expectation.
We are an evidence-based consultancy that has been sought out to transform workplaces, justice environments, health care, research and development companies and womens refuges on the strength of our ability to translate strategy and policy into design.
Public Realm Lab are facilitators of culture
The physical environment is a manifestation of culture in a particular place.
Our starting point is your culture, values, rituals, behaviours and we craft meaningful and authentic places to house them.
Public Realm Lab are investigators of human behaviour
We design human habitat. How a space is approached, understood, occupied and departed is the primary consideration in our work. We employ an evidence-based approach in all projects: researching, theorising, testing and adapting based on observation and evidence.
Public Realm Lab are agents of change
We work with organisations to understand, describe and deliver changed physical environments in response to new physical and cultural needs. We have expertise in strategic masterplanning, change management and facilitation in order to help unpack the drivers for change. Our design process is enriched by a detailed understanding of where you are going and why.
Public Realm Lab are traffickers of beauty
We strive for elegant spatial and material experiences that provide delight and harmony.
Public Realm Lab are big communicators
The conception, design, delivery and occupation of new building or public space is an incredibly complex process played out over a number of years. We communicate constantly, in simple terms, about the whole journey, where we are now, what we will do next, where they key risks and issues lie and how we will manage them. We create artefacts to guide the journey and share the magic of creating space.
Public Realm Lab are collaborators (of yours!)
We need help to do what we do and that’s how we like it. We work with property advisory, social geographers, artists, engineers, organisational psychologists and with our clients in great depth to ensure that each project has the right mix for success.
“We certainly improved productivity and that was by far the most important outcome. We achieved greater flexibly, which gives up the ability to flex and morph our resources…and we’re much better setup for internal communication. The improved communication led to improved collaboration at an intra and inter project level. Increasingly we’re proud of not just what we do but the place we do it in. It’s a great place to come to work everyday and we see that in the faces of our employees. It’s turned about to be a great motivator for our current workforce and future workforce.”
- Andrew Hind, Agilent Technologies
“I thought that part of the reason we didn’t repeat them [mistakes] is because we could actually see each other and talk to each other. Whereas in the old R+D building the mistakes happened. […] Since we’ve moved into this building, we have sharpened our pencils on those [projects]. We don’t take as long.”
- Focus Group Workshop Participant, Agilent Technologies
“The trusted relationship between AHV and PRL is a result of Anna and her team’s commitment to understanding who we are, how we work and how we can best support our clients with this understanding Anna has tested many design iterations ensuring that every aspect of the design is working hard for us.”
- John Templeman, Aboriginal Housing Victoria
'(Anna) you and your team drove a rigorous yet streamlined briefing process - one where our people felt that their needs and experiences were listened to, carefully evaluated and responded to."
- Alistair Reid, La Trobe University
'At all times throughout your engagement, if felt like a partnership. Regardless of whether you were conducting an infrastructure review; outlining our options for more effective decision making associated with managing our facilities; or ensuring we were clear about the constraints we faced, you did so with professionalism, a sense of humour and significant industry knowledge.'
- Hilary Bolton, Baker IDI
A SELECTION OF RECENT WORK