Assael launch design studio in Australia as capital targeting BTR gains momentum

Assael launches a design studio in Australia – as a wall of capital is ready to invest in new Build to Rent opportunities.

View of Sydney where the Assael design studio is launching | BTR News

UK architectural practice – Assael – has launched an Australian design studio to bring its strong Build to Rent design expertise to development opportunities in the country.

Based in Sydney, the design studio will provide design consultancy services for residentially-led, mixed use developments and co-location projects across Australia based on extensive experience in Europe. The focus will be on Build to Rent and Co-living sectors – both areas Assael has helped pioneer in the UK.

“I am thrilled that Assael is launching its new studio in Australia. While we have worked on several international projects over the years, this is a very real opportunity to help drive and shape the nascent but rapidly growing Build to Rent sector in Australia.”

Russell Pedley, Director and Co-founder, Assael

Australia is tipped as the next location for a Build to Rent boom with investors lining up to find opportunities that, until recently, have been hard to come by. For example, Greystar has recently raised A$1.3bn to spend on Build to Rent projects across Australia

Assael has a strong track record of working on schemes globally for several international companies. The launch of its Australian design studio is motivated by the genuine opportunity to contribute to the burgeoning Build to Rent sector in Australia.

The design studio will also bring its considerable expertise in Build to Rent co-locational schemes to Sydney. The UK is seeing a growth in co-location developments and Assael has been working with Transport for London and Grainger on its Connected Living portfolio, where new homes will be located alongside other land uses such as light industry, transport or retail – at key locations such as Nine Elms in Central London, one of the largest infrastructure and regeneration sites in the UK. 

“I am excited to be opening our new studio in Sydney. There is an excellent opportunity for this rental model to take off in the Australian market and I’m excited to use knowledge and lessons that we’ve learned from the UK’s Build to Rent boom to deliver designs that reflect the growing demand for rented homes that also offer a lifestyle experience with high-quality services, managed operations and communal spaces.”

Loren Thanyakittikul, Director, Assael

Director Loren Thanyakittikul, head of Assael’s new Australian studio, has also recently been appointed to the New South Wales Residential Committee for the Property Council of Australia. Loren will work with the government and broader industry to develop solutions for residential development.

“I am looking forward to working with the Property Council of Australia. Build to Rent is still a relatively new asset class, and so there needs to be an emphasis on collaboration, both across the industry and with the government to help drive changes needed to support the future growth of the sector.”

Loren Thanyakittikul, Director, Assael
Loren Thanyakittikul, Director at Assael Architecture's design studio | BTR News
Loren Thanyakittikul, Director, Assael.

“With over 15 years’ experience in conceptualising and delivering residential schemes, and her considerable expertise in the Build to Rent sector, Loren is well placed to help lead this new chapter for Assael with the full depth and breadth of the practice in the UK behind her to tap into.”

Russell Pedley, Director and Co-founder, Assael

Assael has a deep understanding of the sector and has helped pioneer the positioning of Build to Rent as an aspirational asset class in the UK. The practice’s portfolio of work has led to its reputation as a go-to design consultant for UK private and institutional investors, including Grainger plc and Legal & General (L&G).

The company has also worked on a flagship Build to Rent project in London for L&G, which has become the first development to be awarded the Home Quality Mark by BRE Global. The project transformed a former industrial estate on the edge of a reservoir into an environmentally-sensitive scheme of over 450 homes.

One of the first completed modular Build to Rent projects in London was designed by Assael and won Best Community Living project at the Sunday Times British Home Awards in 2020. It was the UK’s first private rented building specifically for families, creating almost 250 homes. The project was used as a case study across the industry and cited in the UK government’s housing White Paper.  

The team at Assael have also worked in collaboration with Paul Winstanley to shape and co-author the UK ULI’s Build to Rent Best Practice Guide.

“It is very encouraging for the Build to Rent sector in Australia that Loren and Assael have taken the decision to open up a design studio out of New South Wales. Assael have been one of the UK’s leading Build to Rent design firms since the early days of the sector’s emergence. They have specialised in Build to Rent schemes and have contributed significantly to the development of an institutional grade sector.  

“From JLL’s perspective, it is important to learn as much as we can from overseas experience of creating a fully functional investment sector – and fit for purpose Build to Rent design will be critical to success. By taking international learnings into account as we develop our own bespoke domestic Build to Rent offer in Australia, we have the opportunity to shorten the speed to market for quality assets.”

Paul Winstanley, Head of BTR for Australia and New Zealand, JLL