Architecture Partners Building Clients’ Dreams
Architecture and life partners, MEETU SHARMA SAXENA and VISHAL SAXENA bring a combined experience of over 50 years as architects to their firm, Hyperspace, a firm dedicated to breaking down barriers in how space can be conceptualized.
“WE believe that the maximum potential of a project or space can only be truly realized when we can seek out and develop harmonious connections between various disciplines,” says Meetu Sharma Saxena, who founded Hyperspace in 2017.
Too often, according to Meetu, the planning, design and construction aspects of a build are disconnected, with the process heavily influenced by builder and cost.
With a background in planning, architecture, construction management and a specialty in international heritage, Meetu says she could see there was a clear space, especially in small to medium architectural projects in Canberra that could benefit from a planned and process-oriented approach.
“The industry isn’t set up with someone to make sure what’s designed actually gets built,” she says.
She says that by engaging Hyperspace for architectural services, you get a team delivering holistic design solutions that take responsibility for the outcome.
“In a small company, we think our employees are more connected to the design and take more ownership of the end product,” says Meetu’s husband, Vishal Saxena, who joined the company in 2020, after a successful career in major architectural firms in India, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.
Having met at university in India in the 1990s, Meetu and Vishal say that by combining their skills and expertise acquired overseas and locally, they offer something special to their clients.
Meetu says she enjoyed her role as a senior project manager at ANU, but she always felt passionate about opening her own business.
Jig Saw House – Hyperspace.
Multi-housing in Gungahlin – Hyperspace.
The Living Room – Hyperspace.
Showroom – Community Center in Mitchell – Hyperspace.
Multi-housing in Garran – Hyperspace.
Daycare center in Combes – Hyperspace.
“I’ve worked in so many countries and cities, I wanted to know if it was possible to set up a better example of architectural design in Canberra, which itself is an inspired city in its design,” she says .
“Few local architectural firms are run by women. This is a field that is not easy for women, because it is a predominantly male profession.
“As someone who later entered this process of running my own business, I’m very proud of how we’ve evolved.”
Meetu says much of their work is in residential design, but she and Vishal have experience working on large projects. They have worked on the renovation of public schools, multi-purpose residences, large commercial spaces and heritage projects.
Meetu worked as a heritage consultant on the ground during the refurbishment of the Old Parliament, the Australian War Memorial and the National Film and Sound Archive in partnership with SQC Group.
Meetu and Vishal say that one of the main parameters of their approach for a project is always sustainability.
“We look at the existing structure and building and ask ourselves, what can we reuse? What can we modify to meet the client’s requirements rather than completely demolishing the original building? Said Meetu.
“We recently worked on a house in Garran. It was a solid brick building and it made no sense, either from a sustainability perspective or from a financial perspective, to tear it down. We were able to redefine it according to the contemporary context and the client’s needs,” explains Vishal.
“We follow a rigorous process where we define the client’s vision and work with them to develop a design solution that meets the site context, budget and their vision.”
Another example of their ability to maximize the potential of their client’s asset is their work on a warehouse in Mitchell.
“We helped add value to the site by not only redeveloping a warehouse for the client, but providing an office, warehouse and showroom, as well as hosting a community center. Our client wanted to give back to their community, so we created a mixed-use development with a community center that allows activities to take place in Mitchell over the weekend, activating the neighborhood,” says Vishal.
Hyperspace is also proud of the community work it does with the local community by assisting in the design and construction of a church in Rivett as well as the expansion of the Florey Hindu Temple. Both designs allow for future expansion as the community grows.
Meetu says most of the new housing is being built for Canberra’s immigrant population, both interstate and international, and as migrants themselves, she says she and Vishal are well placed to fill that gap and, that doing so, educating the new residents of this incredible city.
“It’s also about passing on our skills and knowledge to help the next generation of architects make their mark. We found an opportunity and a place in this city and we had five graduates in our firm, which allowed them to start their careers.
“Our architectural vision has an altruistic aspect – we want to give back and make a difference,” says Vishal.
“Our motto is to play your part to the best of your ability, to be honest and transparent. At the end of the day, it’s very important that the built environment benefits from what we do,” says Meetu.
“Our inspiration comes from the beauty of cities and the quality of the built environment. What will tomorrow’s heritage be? In the years to come we want our children to come to Canberra and still recognize the streetscapes and what makes Canberra special.
Hyperspace, visit hyper-space.com.au or call 0406 972585 or 0404 334430.
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Ian Meikle, editor