The distinguished architect’s global portfolio includes Westfield London, Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai’s future third CBD

Trevor Vivian

Trevor Vivian, a distinguished architect renowned in the commercial sector for his award-winning projects around the world, has been elected as the chairman of the judges of the China Property Awards 2016, organised by PropertyGuru.

Vivian has more than 30 years of experience as in the industry. Highlighting the breadth of his cross-sector experience, his portfolio includes Westfield London, Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi and the masterplan for Shanghai’s future third CBD, Lujiazui Pudong Qiantan.

For the last ten years Vivian has been with Benoy, one of the world’s leading architectural and design firms. Before his appointment to global director and move to the Hong Kong Studio in 2014, he was director and head of Benoy’s Shanghai Studio, overseeing and developing the firm’s presence and operations across China.

An influential leader of challenging projects that require an understanding of the cultural nuances of the design process, Vivian has worked across Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East to build a diverse and international portfolio.

Property Report recently caught up with the renowned architect to discuss his views on the Chinese real estate market and design sector.

How would you characterise the Chinese property market in terms of design and aesthetics in 2016?

The pace of change in China has been rapid and during the six years I lived in Shanghai, I was amazed at the growth. During that period there was constant demand for new builds and also ‘statement’ structures, which did result in some ill-conceived and constructed developments.

This has changed now, and there is a greater demand for socially responsible developments that are efficient, cost effective and also deliver on their briefs. In other words, there is a drive to a greater quality product that is both dynamic but still provides efficiency.

With your 30-year international experience across the globe, what can you say is the advantage of builders in China over other countries?

The major advantage of China is their delivery of large developments in short time frames. They have been quick learners and the quality of work has improved greatly, especially in the first tier cities.

Do you have any comments on the bizarre and/or supertall structures that have risen on Mainland China in the past decade?

I see the trend towards the ‘bizarre’ structures changing as the market becomes more mature and the focus falls on aesthetic yet also commercially viable developments in this increasingly competitive market. The issue with some of these earlier ‘statement’ structures is that they don’t fulfil their brief and become less relevant and efficient over time.

How would you describe three different design markets of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau?

The Mainland China market is still growing along with the populations’ disposable income and aspirations.  The first and second tier cities are changing and becoming mature global cities.  The developments in these cities are starting to have a voice that is distinctive to a Chinese style rather than an international copy.

Hong Kong and Macau have smaller populations, less buildable land and are mature markets, having been open to the global marketplace for longer. While new developments will continue in both cities, I see re-purposing and refurbishment of existing build stock as a growth area.

As a design expert, what are you looking for in new developments in China?

Developments which fulfil their brief and add amenity to their surroundings areas; it’s important for a scheme to be integrated with its surrounding context. Each development should also exhibit sustainable and socially responsible qualities.

What do you think of the mix of the judges at the China Property Awards this year?

We have a diverse and experienced group of judges from all fields of the property market who I am excited to be working alongside. Each of the judges will bring a different perspective to the process and with their expertise, provide a thorough review and recommendation.

As the chairman of the judges, how would you lead the panel?

That’s simple – with transparency and honesty.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the third annual awards. For more information and to book super early bird tickets to the China Property Awards, visit the official website.