Distinguished architects and founding directors of Singapore-based practice WOHA have been appointed in the roles of Seidler Chairs in the Practice of Architecture, at UNSW Built Environment, Sydney.

The Seidler Chair was established in 2014 and is funded by the generous gift from architect and patron Dr Penelope Seidler AM, in honour of her late husband Harry Seidler. Dr Seidler AM is passionate about education and wants to ensure that the next generation of architects have opportunities to learn from the best in the field.

“The appointment of the two international partners from an influential Singapore practice will enhance the crucial input of what actually happens in the real world when the graduates are exposed to building their grand designs,” says Dr Seidler AM.

Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ founded their practice WOHA in 1994 and focus on conceiving architectural and urban solutions that tackle 21st century problems, such as climate change, population growth and rapidly increasing urbanisation. WOHA has received a number of architectural awards such as the Aga Khan Award for One Moulmein Rise as well as the RIBA Lubetkin Prize and International Highrise Award for The Met.

“Mun Summ and myself are delighted to be appointed as the Seidler Chairs at the University of New South Wales, thanks to the vision and generosity of Penelope Seidler,” says Hassell of WOHA.

“We have been developing concepts around high-amenity, self-sufficient, biodiverse cities in Asia, and are very excited to see how these ideas would be adapted and enhanced in the process of imagining a future regenerative Sydney. Australia has unique climatic and cultural conditions and we are keen to explore these and make new discoveries with the students.”

The previous recipient of the Seidler Chair was Australia’s only Pritzker prize-winning architect, Professor Glenn Murcutt AO. Prof. Murcutt has completed his term as Seidler Chair at UNSW, and his legacy has paved the way for Mun Summ and Richard to advance the development of the architecture industry through the education of the next generation.

As appointed Seidler Chairs, Richard and Mun Summ will lead annual design studios at UNSW and deliver a major public lecture exploring how the built environment can contribute to tackling major urban challenges both in Sydney, and globally. Students at the School of Built Environment, UNSW Sydney will learn from architects of a distinguished, global profile.

“I would like to thank Penelope for her incredible support in funding this endowed Chair in Architecture,” says Professor Claire Annesley, Dean of UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture. “Her generosity will provide our students with a unique opportunity to learn directly from internationally acclaimed architects and teachers”

“We’re delighted to have Richard and Mun Summ onboard. The environmental and social qualities of their buildings strongly reflect our Faculty’s aim of seeking and solving problems to improve life on earth.”