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world's best projects

What can we learn from unpacking the success factors of two stand-out projects: Sky Central London and the Sugar Factory in the Chinese city of Zhuhai?

Sky Central London brings together a 3,500-strong workforce under one roof near Heathrow airport. The multi-award-winning building features 18 different ‘neighbourhoods’ – each able to accommodate around 200 people – and 15 different work settings. There are 2,500 desks and 5,000 places to sit, as well as an eye-watering 25,000 plants.

Dealing with the size and scale of the project – 170 metres long and 100 metres wide – was a tremendous challenge, HASSELL principal Kirsti Simpson told the Darwin audience during a standout session on ‘world’s best projects’.

“We realised conventional workspaces wouldn’t cut it,” Simpson said.

How did HASSELL make comfortable and intimate spaces in what was effectively a big barn?

By “breaking the volume down into neighbourhoods with soft borders”, Simpson explained. “Vertical obstacles at regular intervals” make the space feel “more comfortable and human”.

Simpson had several key takeaways for the crowd – but the biggest was “make the change journey easy”.

HASSELL created a “live lab or prototype space so staff could experience all the work settings. This gave people a real sense of familiarity and comfort.”

Read more about Sky Central London in Property Australia. 


The historic Zhuhai sugar factory is being transformed by Woods Bagot into a low-carbon cultural hub. Featuring a sugar industry museum and a chocolate factory, the 78,877 sqm mixed-use development will offset its carbon footprint with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

According to Will Hosikian, Principal, Woods Bagot, the project demonstrates how adaptive reuse can “bring new life to cities” and celebrate local culture.

Located in the Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province, the Zhuhai sugar factory will offer a “multi-sensory experience for visitors”, including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience, and scenic waterscapes and wetlands.

Woods Bagot aims to repurpose as many of the 41 existing sugar factory buildings as possible. New buildings are being designed to match the industrial aesthetic.

“China moves at unprecedented speed,” Hosikian said. “Historically, there’s been a tendency in China to sweep away the past and to start with a fresh page.” The sugar factory project required “a great deal of patience” and a “respect for each of the 41 buildings to celebrate each function and purpose”.

Session presentations are available to delegates via The Property Congress App.

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