A few months ago, Xsquared Architects turned 15 and here we reflect on this milestone and what has happened in that time to shape the practice into what it is today:
- Founding directors, Peter Scott and Keith Drew, and from 2018 director Alex Newman, have grown the business from three employees in 2006 to a team of 13 committed professionals today (compound growth rate: 10% per annum).
- Along the way, over 30 employees have come, gone and stayed. We’ve celebrated one retirement (Keith), hundreds of birthdays, 4 marriages, 3 babies, 2 grandchildren and lots of fur babies.
- Two out of our 13 staff have been with us since day one; four more have more than ten years’ experience; and another two have more than five years’ service. The loyalty and dedication of these staff help us to deliver consistent and reliable service to our clients (average current staff tenure: 8 years).
- Ten of our staff (both former and current) are graduates of the University of Tasmania, and we have always committed to employment of local graduates on a regular basis.
- We have employed eight overseas nationals, six of whom still reside in Tasmania. This helps the local economy and enriches our workplace with the diverse cultural experiences and perspectives they bring. Current overseas staff include those born in England, Hong Kong and Poland. We also embrace gender diversity with 46% of our current staff being women.
- Early in our history we established practice Values, Mission and Vision through a series of staff workshops to provide clarity about our culture and purpose. One of the values, putting the health and wellbeing of our employees as a key consideration in decision-making, has resulted in several initiatives being implemented, such as more flexible work hours. As a result, in 2019, we were recognised by the Tasmanian government as an Employer of Choice for our contemporary workplace practices – one of only about 100 companies to be so recognised.
- A significant milestone has been achievement of ISO9001:2015 certification of our Quality Management System. Via continuous improvement of our processes and procedures, clients can be confident about the quality and consistency of our architectural services.
- Our projects have grown in size and complexity. This provides greater stimulation and challenges for our team, and is an excellent validation of their skills and capabilities.
- Milestone completed projects include:
– Hopkins Street Affordable Housing, Moonah, Tasmania’s first 5 star Green Star certified multi-residential development (2010)
– Hobart International Airport Hotel, Cambridge, our first major hotel project (2010)
– Risdon Prison PIRP Stage D, our first major prison project (2015)
– Willow Court heritage restoration and refurbishment, New Norfolk, one of a long line of heritage projects carried out by the practice (2014)
– IBIS Styles Hotel, Hobart, Australia’s first and only 5 star Green Star certified hotel (2016)
– Austins Ferry Primary School, Austins Ferry (2017)
– Vibe Hotel and mixed use development, Hobart (2020)
– Lands Building redevelopment, Hobart (2020)
- We are currently the lead consultant on a number of significant Tasmanian projects including:
– Southern Remand Centre, Risdon Prison Complex, Risdon Vale
– Revitalisation of the Stone and Architecture Buildings, Inveresk for the University of Tasmania
– Peacock Centre mental health centre redevelopment, North Hobart
– Thyne House supported youth accommodation, Launceston
– Salvation Army community housing, Moonah
- We invest heavily in technology each year. This allows us to use the latest technology, including virtual reality and point cloud data sets to streamline our designs, reviews and collaborations, and enables us to work seamlessly when COVID-19 forces us to work from home.
- Significant partnerships with leading national firms, such as BVN and Guymer Bailey, have helped to hone our skills and collaborative processes.
- We moved premises in 2015 to accommodate our growth. Our Hobart office fitout is being assessed for a 6 star Greenstar rating (world’s best practice), to further demonstrate our sustainability credentials (number of 6 star projects in Tasmania: 3).
- Our contributions to the community and the profession include:
– sponsorship of local productions at the Theatre Royal for nine consecutive years
– representation on the Property Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Architects and Architects Accreditation Council of Australia committees, Master Builders Association Awards Jury, and Tasmanian Heritage Council, amongst many others
– fundraising via teams entered into City to Casino Fun Runs
– being awarded the 2014 Community Achievement Environment Award for our ongoing contribution to leading edge sustainability
– Alex Newman being awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2020 to undertake research on correctional architecture
- All at Xsquared Architects remain excited by what we do and look forward to the next 15 years.
We are proud of our achievements and thank all our current and former staff for the contributions they have made over the last 15 years to consolidate Xsquared Architects’ reputation and to contribute to the body of work that we have completed. We also thank past and present clients, who have placed their trust in us, and the consultants and contractors who have helped us to deliver our projects.