Hames Sharley and Villa + Villa take on Karingal Hub Shopping Centre

Amongst project delivery methods that have taken hold in architecture, collaboration is perhaps the most famous and beneficial one. When projects become large and complex, (such as shopping centres or large sporting grounds), architecture firms can team up, combining expertise and resources. However, it is found that this style of project delivery is not always easy and requires a high level of trust between firms.

One success story is the Hames Sharley and Villa + Villa collaboration for Karingal Hub, a partnership that meant a tired centre would be re-energised for the local community in Melbourne, Victoria.

Multi-disciplinary design studio, Villa + Villa was established in 1999 by Eduardo Villa and Maria Villa-Muniz. Since then, Eduardo has built up an impressive portfolio of work in an extensive array of architectural fields across the globe from Spain, to Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Argentina, the United States and Australia, which he now calls home.

Most of Eduardo’s work was residential in the beginning until he discovered his passion in the retail sector. “After 21 years of operating Villa + Villa, we experience dramatic changes which allowed us to grow, establish and position the business in a very good way,” he explains.

Leading the project on Hames Sharley’s end, is Retail and Town Centres Portfolio Leader, Harold Perks. Harold has a passion for delivering community-enhancing built form with a keen eye for design resolution, which played a vital role in the design of Karingal Hub.

The client, ISPT, expected that two firms work together on Karingal Hub, sharing the interior design and building architecture. This was an opportunity for Villa + Villa and
Hames Sharley, and naturally where both firms came together, to establish trust, transparency and execute the collaboration, respectfully.

Both multi-disciplinary design studios embraced their capabilities with Villa + Villa overseeing the interior design, entertainment area and entry upgrades and Hames Sharley responsible for the building architecture.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for both studios to combine their knowledge and expertise for a better outcome for the community and the precinct, while learning from each other’s expertise on the project,” says Harold.

The project is set to bring a new development extension that connects the existing retail centre with the Starzone entertainment precinct. “This required careful consideration for an outdoor town square opportunity and dining precinct that holds the two centres together” reports Harold.

Key moves for the project included the connection of the two centres, achieved by expanding the retail centre and connecting through the outdoor town square. The collaboration also meant that the existing centre would be re-energised and breathe new life by means of an entire interior design re-fresh and upgraded existing entries – thereby eliminating an old vs new approach.

“Working with Hames Sharley on Karingal has been a great experience,” comments Eduardo, who says the collaboration was a great success. “It’s truly been wonderful to collaborate as everyone can concentrate and deliver on what they do best.”

With so many professionals involved in the making of architecture, it is no wonder that firms have begun to place an even greater emphasis on industry collaboration.

Expanding their design sensibilities; the successful outcome of the project is owed to the efforts of both Villa + Villa and Hames Sharley working openly to avoid issues and maintain a level of professionalism and respect as agreed by all. Both practices shared the responsibility and utilised their resources, specialities, local and critical knowledge to add value to the community in Karingal Hub.

Interior rendering of Karingal Hub Shopping Centre Redevelopment | Retail Architecture
Exterior rendering of Karingal Hub Shopping Centre Redevelopment | Retail Architecture


Harold is a Director with over 15 years’ practice experience in retail master planning, retail design, high-end residential design, commercial, warehouse and hospitality architecture.

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