5 Minutes with Hip v. Hype’s Liam Wallis

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In the lead-up to Urbanity, on August 3-5 at The Star on the Gold Coast, The Urban Developer sat down with Hip v. Hype founding director Liam Wallis to discuss industry trends, Hip v Hype’s business model and its projects as well as the importance of conferences like Urbanity.

Wallis will present a case study on Ferrars and York, Hip v. Hype’s carbon neutral apartment project in South Melbourne on Thursday August 4.

How has Hip v. Hype established and maintained such a successful business model?

“Our day-to-day focus is delivering the best possible product we can to the benefit of the end users of our buildings and ensuring that our buildings have the lowest impact possible on our natural environment.

“Strategically, we are focussed on developing sites that enable us to deliver these best practice outcomes for people and planet whilst delivering strong returns for our investors.

“Developers play a role in shaping the built fabric of our cities, creating spaces for people to live and work across generations. We believe that this role demands a responsibility to act with integrity and to seek to create, not extract, value. A focus on short term speculative gain at the expense of quality outcomes just isn’t an option for Hip v. Hype.


What are three must haves for a successful residential developer?

“Resilience, flexibility and creativity. Setbacks are guaranteed; the complexities at each stage of the process, resultant from legislative reform, are ever increasing – let alone impacts of macro-economic uncertainty.


What do you, or Hip v. Hype, focus far more time on now, than five years ago?

“At present, we are focussed on construction-side risk. Working with our building partners and suppliers is a key priority to maintain quality in the context of cost escalation, supply chain complexity and labour constraints.


What are the three key trends you are noticing in residential development?

Rather than trends, we focus on fundamentals. Project lifecycles span the better part of five years which increasingly represents a timespan outlasting many so-called trends. Durability, performance and impact are three of our fundamentals.” 


What advice would you give an up-and-coming property developer?

“Built outcomes have a habit of reflecting the daily decisions made by project teams: good, bad and indifferent. 

“The majority of buildings will stand for a long-time, beyond 2022; try not to forget that when things get tough. Quality buildings require considered and balanced decision making, despite the challenges we may face.” 

Two International projects that have impressed you recently?

CopenHill, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, is a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen, topped by a hill for skiing, rock climbing and hiking.

Powerplants of yesterday polluted our environments and our people. Deeply integrated and creative solutions such CopenHill represent the potential of many building typologies to inspire us to live better, healthier and more connected lives.


Two Australian projects that have impressed you recently
?

Quarterly, our team take time to visit best practice projects. Over the past year, we’ve visited incredible benchmark exemplars such as Cape Paterson Ecovillage and Burwood Brickworks. 

A particular standout was our visit to Monash University’s Gillies Hall: cross-laminated timer built, Passivhaus certified student accommodation designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects with landscape by Glas Urban.” 


Name three people on your radar that are doing exceptional work in the built environment?

“There is so much important work being done at present in the built environment
across waste, water, energy, materials and health and wellness. 
 
“The search to recognise individuals too often simplifies the critical inputs of thousands of passionate individuals, working each and every day in increasingly collaborative ways to innovate and improve outcomes. As a team, we are both humbled and inspired by these collective efforts and look forward to exciting times ahead.

 

An inspiring book or research paper you’ve read recently or presentation you’ve attended?

“I have just finished reading Until the End of Time by Brian Greene. It’s a mind-bending exploration of the universe and humanity’s search for verifiable truths. It provides the perfect antidote to procurement risk and associated stresses.

 

Why do you think it is important to have conferences like Urbanity?

The exchange of ideas and learning opportunities are essential for industry-wide improvement. A conference like Urbanity will play an integral role in ensuring that the built environment of tomorrow is better, more resilient, healthier, lower impact and more productive than today.


Of the vast array of speakers presenting at Urbanity who are you most looking forward to hearing from?

“I’m looking forward to digesting as much content as possible. Like a music festival, sometimes the most memorable and inspiring performances can be found to the side of the main stage, where tomorrow’s headline act is fine-tuning their skills.” 

Join us as Urbanity brings together an unrivalled roster of the industry’s best developers, architects, place-makers, innovators and property professionals. 

Urbanity is a must-attend event for anyone that is involved in the development of cities and regions.

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