Scharp - Creative Studio

Posted 6th May, 2017

How we deliver the biggest projects in Australia

So how does Scharp successfully maintain its relationships with many of the country’s top architectural practices?

As a director at Scharp, this is a question that I often ponder. One of my roles at Scharp is to ensure that these relationships not only continue, but develop and flourish. Maintaining strong relationships with Australia’s leading architects is not only a benefit to Scharp, but can lead to enormous benefits for those practices we work alongside.

Why is that relationship so important? It goes without saying how critical the process is in translating the architect’s vision into a 3D representation.  A strong, healthy relationship is paramount in ensuring that the process runs smoothly, and can mean the difference between a successful outcome and a disaster.

I have identified four factors that have been key to Scharp’s success over the years – successful delivery of projects, a varied portfolio of work, an advanced skillset and a sound architectural footing.

Successful Delivery

No doubt, one of the key elements to ensuring that relationships remain strong, is delivering projects successfully and reliably.

Hitting milestones, especially the hard and fast deadlines of tender bids, is critical and Scharp has prided itself over the years in delivering successful products to meet these deadlines.

Such an ability to deliver in tight timeframes often leads to Scharp receiving last-minute calls from architecture firms, with requests to produce a dozen CGIs or a sixty second fly-through. We constantly strive to provide that help and come up with a solution that works for all parties involved.

Repeat work from some of Australia’s most prestigious and successful architecture firms underpins Scharp’s success, and without this we would be much more vulnerable to the ups and downs of the property industry.

Such mutually beneficial relationships are crucial. Simon Swaney, award-winning architect and Managing Director of Bates Smart says, “Johnny and his team are responsive, clever and effective”.

Varied Portfolio

To that end, Scharp has been successfully able to work within all sectors of the industry. Our work can vary from a high-end residential apartment to a sports stadium; from an inner-city school to a multi-billion dollar city-centre rejuvenation.

We have been careful not to allow ourselves to become pigeon-holed in any one sector, and therefore become limited in our skillset. Instead, we have endeavoured to remain flexible and deliver quality across whichever sector our clients require.

Scharp recently worked with multi-award winning practice Hayball to produce a flythrough presentation and movie to help the Victorian Government sell to the community the new vertical school design for Richmond High School.

The client’s first response on viewing the final product was, “It looks amazing, I love it.”

Chris Harty of Hayball, Senior Project Leader for the job says, “As a practice that takes pride in quality professional service for our clients, Scharp’s effort and contribution to a great outcome was impressive. Design excellence is our standard, and Scharp matched it.”

Advanced skillset

Of course, one of the crucial factors in building a large and varied portfolio is having the right skillset and staff to be successful in all sectors. It can be a real challenge working on some of the larger projects that Australia has seen, but Scharp has a proven track-record over the years which speaks for itself.

Whilst there can be no doubt that our experience is the foundation upon which much of our success is built, we recognise that we cannot rely on experience alone. At Scharp we constantly push the boundaries, by embracing emerging technologies, by developing and nurturing our artists and modellers, and by continually honing our craft.

Warrick Chalmers, Principal of global sports architecture firm Populous, says, “Successfully animating a sports stadium is a complex undertaking, but we’ve always found Scharp up to the challenge. Their capacity to bring stadiums to life, both on and off the sports field, is second-to-none and has led to us collaborating on projects such as Margaret Court Arena, Metricon/Gold Coast Stadium, and Sydney Showground/Spotless Stadium.”

A sound architectural footing

Scharp was founded back in 1999 on the back of a strong knowledge of the architectural industry, and that tradition is something that has continued over the years. Managing Director Malcolm Schapel began his career as an architect at award-winning practice Denton Corker Marshall before founding Scharp.

My own pathway to director of Scharp began as an Interior Architect, working for years in a London architecture practice before the move to Melbourne, and the change to 3D visualisation. Over the years we have successfully recruited talented candidates from all corners of the architecture industry, combining architects and interior designers with the technical knowledge of building designers.

This powerful mix of skills and backgrounds has helped us excel at not only communicating with our clients but also in interpreting briefs and understanding the needs of our clients. We do speak the language and understand the industry, and this has enabled Scharp to build trust and forge strong bonds over the years.

Ian Connolly, Director of Cox Richardson, Sydney says, “Scharp have long been a trusted and reliable resource for Cox Architecture. They are our go-to team for many of our most important jobs, such as the redevelopments of The Sydney Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval and Melbourne Park. They have helped on projects as varied as the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers Bretonneaux, France, the Inner-City Masterplan of Durban, South Africa and the Newcastle Light Rail, NSW. Their outputs are of consistently high quality which makes them first choice on important projects.”

The future

Far from resting on our laurels, Scharp is continually striving to grow and develop as a studio. We recognise that developing and maintaining relationships with our colleagues within the architecture industry is key to Scharp’s success, and we’re confident that with these four factors in mind, we’re going about it in the best possible way.