CEDA member profile: Woods Bagot



Kate Frear, Regional Executive Chair, Australia and New Zealand, Woods Bagot 

Can you tell us a little about your company?

Woods Bagot places human experience at the centre of our design process to deliver engaging projects that address current needs and flexibly accommodate changes to come. These goals are achieved with diligent research and creative endeavour – both of which are derived from dialogue with our clients and by harnessing the collective intelligence of our global design studio. We have a team of over 900 experts working across 16 studios in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

This model allows us to work collaboratively across time zones and borders, using the latest technology to share design expertise and strengthen our knowledge base around the world.

Sector experts from within the firm, as well as our consultant network, lead a multi-faceted approach to every project. Working across architecture, consulting, interior design, master planning and urban design disciplines, we understand our clients’ functional, operational and cultural needs, drawing on our research and experience to create solutions that work for owners and end-users while also contributing to the wider society.

By blurring boundaries and utilising the power of our in-house computational modelling and research team, SUPERSPACE, our approach is to design and deliver projects based on the way people use and enjoy buildings, spaces and cities.

What is your role with Woods Bagot and when did you start there?

I am currently the Regional Executive Chair for our Australian and New Zealand studios which means I lead the practice in this region. I am also an Architect and Principal. During my career I’ve designed and led projects throughout Australia, the Middle East and London. I specialise in lifestyle sector design most notably multi-residential, hospitality and mixed-use development. Earlier in my career I concentrated upon commercial buildings and educational facilities. 

Have you noticed any current industry trends in recent times? 

Over the past five years we have seen a huge evolution in procurement methodologies that larger and more complex projects employ. It has been a response to more expensive capital and rising construction costs, shortening timeframes, and project risk mitigation. It has meant that the design industry has changed the way that we practice, manage projects and ultimately provide our service to our clients. Australia seems to lead the creativity in this space and this is proven in our experience in other countries that generally employ far more conservative approaches to design and construction. It will be very interesting to see the next evolution as the industry responds to further tightening of capital and a reduced number of opportunities in the market.

What do you love about your role?

From 2010-2015 I led the practice in Melbourne and this was a time of enormous growth and change for our city and for us. The most satisfying part of my role is working closely with the people who have a passion for the built environment and making our environment a better place for our future. It’s an inspiring time for Woods Bagot both locally in Melbourne and globally, and I am very excited to be a part of its trajectory into the future.