Interview with Philip Gresley

Interview with Philip Gresley

Gresley Abas Architects in Perth, Australia.

Gresley Abas Architects was founded by Philip Gresley and Ahmad Abas in Perth, Australia, in 2004. Gresley Abas work in several different areas, participate in national and international competitions, and in addition to their closely object-related architectural practice, are also devoted to developing master plans. Gresley Abas advocate for social and sustainable architecture and frequently work with local and community- oriented initiatives. Culture and community centers make up a large part of their oeuvre.

Gresley Abas Architects were responsible for the architectural concept of the new Wickham Community Hub in Western Australia , where Swisspearl panels in 14 standard colors and 11 specialty colors were installed.

This interview is featured in the Swisspearl Architecture #29. Subscribe to our magazine to get the printed issue.

Wickham Community Hub, Australia, © Acorn Photo, Robert Frith, Subiaco, Australia

Philip Gresley, How would you describe Gresley Abas Architects’ mission?

We are very focused on making the world “a better place” through good design.

What is good design to you?

Good design is found in true holistic collaboration. In doing so, well-designed places, spaces, and environments enrich our lives and the experiences of people. They have the capacity to heal, bring joy, and transform people’s experiences of themselves and the world around them.

Our work always aims to be human centric and this often involves a strong connection to landscape and climate—to the environment.

Philip Gresley

Society and technology are constantly changing. How can architecture react to this?

Architects need to listen carefully and work to understand the changing patterns around us. Our focus at Gresley Abas lies in two key areas that both require radical evolution in Australia: sustainability, and working for our indigenous peoples, on Country. By collaborating, sharing knowledge, and being respectful to people and the planet, we can find new answers to old problems.

Many of your projects are in the field of social architecture. How do you envision the balance between technological and aesthetic demands and human needs?

We do not strive to create “objects of beauty.” A quality aesthetic outcome is often the simple product of good design, which is far more encompassing than just how something looks. Our work always aims to be human centric and this often involves a strong connection to landscape and climate—to the environment. The Wickham Community Hub’s design is centered around creating such an environment. With a climate often characterized as being “harsh,” the majority of the year’s weather is actually pleasant, if not exceptionally amenable, which we have tried to celebrate. The key consideration when building in the Pilbara area is balancing this desire for nature and the build-up of mold due to the humid air. Equally, Wickham is located in a cyclonic area with significant storm surges, and therefore requires robust structures and civil engineering, which we aim to integrate to create meaningful landscape responses.

Read more about the Wickham Community Hub in our Blog Article

© Acorn Photo, Robert Frith, Subiaco, Australia
Other unique projects from Gresley Abas Architects

Yanget House, 2013

© Ben Price

The mixed-use building on Victoria Street in the center of Bunbury shows itself as Janus-faced. Towards the street are three office levels with striking sun-protection elements accessed via the entry and the parking garage. The back-facing section, on the contrary, encompasses thirty-nine hostel-like rooms, which are pooled together in living groups, each comprising seven to nine rooms including a community space and balcony.

Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Aboriginal Community Centre, 2019

© Peter Bennets

The community center created for the indigenous population located west of Melbourne in Wyndham Vale comprises one- to two-story components grouped around an elliptical courtyard. The flexible spatial program and carefully designed outdoor space allow for various activities.


Gresley Abas Architects, Perth Australia

Hubertus Adam

Acorn Photo, Robert Frith, Australia
Peter Bennets, Australia
Ben Price, Australia

Wickham Community Hub, Australia

PDF project sheet

Read more – Swisspearl Architecture magazine
Find more stories in our  Swisspearl Architecture #29. Subscribe to our magazine to get the printed issue.

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