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JPE Design Studio: 160 Years and Counting

Australia’s oldest architecture firm this year celebrates its 160th birthday and a brand new studio space in Adelaide’s CBD.

JPE Design Studio: 160 Years and Counting


October 21st, 2011

Adelaide’s JPE Design Studio is Australia’s oldest architecture firm. Celebrating 160 years this month, the firm is responsible for more than one hundred of Adelaide’s buildings – from the Adelaide Railway Station, which was designed in 1925 and based on New York’s Grand Central Terminal; to one of their most recent projects, The Wave, which stands out over the Adelaide skyline with its curvilinear façade.


The first tenants to move into the Wave building were JPE themselves, taking the opportunity to “demonstrate in their offices the efficiency and potential of the commercial space,” says JPE Design Studio Director, Adrian Evans.



“The absence of a conventional client voice provided the rare opportunity to assess our own needs as designers and to explore the client relationship,” says Architect Josephine Evans of the process of designing one’s own studio.

“The ability to share and collaborate and to express the core of our business is central to the design concept and is defined with layered planning, moving parts, live walls and mobile gardens.”



The flexible space includes quiet breakout areas, interactive creative spaces, and gallery and exhibition spaces for public events.

Materials were sourced for their quality and craftsmanship. Sustainably forested Australian veneer clads the central core; Valchromat – a material made of wood fibre, derived from forest waste – was used for joinery in the library, reception and boardroom. ’Heavy’ pendant lamps by Benjamin Hubert were chosen for their craftsmanship, their cast concrete adding to the contemporary feel of the fit-out.


The studio needed to demonstrate sustainable best practice. The plan takes full advantage of the natural light along the south-east wall of light.


JPE reduced their footprint by re-using their existing workstations and chairs, and even turning the street sign from their previous premises into a table for their Creative Studio.

“Moving into our new studio has had a profound shift in the way we work and collaborate, with each other and our clients,” Josephine Evans says.


“Our new flexible environment is a direct reflection of our design philosophies and has allowed us to test and engage ideas in a new way whilst connecting with the wider design community through forums and exhibitions.”

To celebrate its 160th birthday, JPE Design Studio is hosting a visual display of its company history and achievements. ’Designing Place in South Australia – a Retrospective Exhibition’ opens 21 October at The Wave, Level 4, 19 Gilles Street, Adelaide and runs until 18 November.

JPE Design Studio

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