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Perth designer plans for Taipei

INSIGHTS from the recent design forum on the future of Perth will be brought to bear at an international design forum in Taipei.

Perth architect Sharni Howe, who led one of the three teams in the Perth charette, is one of only two Australians invited to participate in the Taiwanese forum.

She and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s professor Leon Van Schaik will join some of the world’s most renown-ed architects as they gather to map out a plan for the future of Taiwan’s capital city.

“A lot of what came out of the Perth charette can apply globally,” Ms Howe said.

She said though Taiwan was the world’s most densely populated country, some issues are similar to what is happening in Perth.

“Only there it’s happening at a million miles an hour,” Ms Howe said. “It’s kind of strange to work on something you’ve never seen but the organisers are interested in key issues and looking for the outsider’s view.

“You’re allowed to be as way out as you like. The object is to promote debate.

“But even if I do badly in Taipei, I don’t care. I’ve still learnt a lot about Taiwan.”

Ms Howe said her work at London’s Architectural Associa-tion – the world’s oldest architecture school – led to her being chosen for the Taipei project.

“A lot of Taipei’s top bureaucrats were educated in the US or in London,” Ms Howe said.

“They’re trying to bring the same level of design debate to their planning as we have in western cities.”

Ms Howe said she had “bundles of people throughout Perth” helping her.

She said Felicity Dowling and Libby Guj had been particularly helpful in preparing the model she will use for her presentation at the forum.

As well as preparing her presentation for Taipei, Ms Howe is running her own practice from her East Perth home and teaching at the University of WA.

Along with her work on the charette, she has also been involved in designing parts of the East Perth Redevelopment Authority area.

Ms Howe said the Perth charette had been a great experience because it brought together a number of different disciplines ranging from architects to landscape architects and town planners.

“Because I was living in the city while doing the charette, I had some ideas of what I wanted to see happen,” she said.

“And I think I am good at pulling the disciplines together to achieve an outcome.”

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