Five minutes with Marko

In mid-November, the Jensen PLUS team welcomed our newest colleague, Marko Separovic.

A qualified architect, planner and urban designer, Marko is a multi-disciplined practitioner with a wealth of experience — including working on international urban design projects.

Marko found five minutes to share more about himself, his career highlights, why Jensen PLUS is a good fit for him, and what he hopes to achieve for our clients and communities across Australia.

What ignited your passion for a career in urban design, planning and architecture?
As an early career architect, I was lucky to work at Hassell Studio, one of Adelaide’s first multi-disciplinary design firms that specialised in combining architecture, planning and urban design/landscape architecture.

Multi-disciplinary teams worked collaboratively on large urban realm projects, such as new university campuses, new community masterplans and subdivisions, precinct designs and new city developments.

To me, the urban realm appeared to be where ‘community life’ occurred, between the buildings and out in the streets, the boulevards, plazas, and open space areas.

During my time at Hassell I learned how various design and engineering elements worked together as a whole, including the importance of stakeholder and community engagement to leverage the best possible outcomes.

The urban realm inspired me to formally train to be a planner and be involved in community engagement — it is the critical factor in the success of new developments and communities, old and new.

Designing urban spaces in a collaborative multi-disciplinary team became my passion and the compass for building my career.

What project would you consider to be career highlights so far?
At a local level, there are a number of projects that stand out as highlights as they were instrumental in creating places that are the foundation of communities and important public infrastructure. These include the SA Housing Trust’s Mapleton Grove project in Kilburn South, the Glenelg Tramline Extension project from Victoria Square to Morphett Street Bridge, the Coast Park upgrade from Seacliff to Brighton — a stretch of 3.6 kilometres, town centre master plans and precinct and structure plans for Murray Bridge, Mount Barker and Tea Tee Gully Councils, and Renewal SA’s Medium Density Housing Redevelopment for Woodville West Stage 2.

While working at GHD for 17 years I also had the opportunity to design cities in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Manilla, Cebu, Vietnam and China. These projects are definitely highlights — they provided great learning opportunities and the outcomes for local communities were so rewarding to see.

What do you consider to be the most valuable qualities that you bring to the Jensen PLUS team and our clients?
As a multi-disciplined practitioner, I offer more than 30 years’ experience across urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, planning and stakeholder engagement with an intricate understanding of how each discipline works together and complements another.

I also place great value and importance on maximising the natural environmental benefits of each site and project to benefit the client and the community.

Meaningful client and community engagement is vital to deliver exceptional and something the Jensen PLUS team pride ourselves on. How will you support these essential activities as part of your projects?
Stakeholder engagement is critical to develop a clear understanding of the needs of local community groups and community projects.

Listening and being responsive to community feedback and participation and bringing them along on the journey is foundational to achieving the best outcomes for a project and the local community.

To deliver on the needs of a client, it is also critical to balance community needs and expectations with realistic budgetary constraints, particularly when creating new or regenerating existing public realm projects such as main streets and malls or town centre renewals.

What drew you to Jensen PLUS and the team?
Jensen PLUS is a creative multi-disciplinary team working on meaningful local and regional projects that bring future and lasting benefits to their communities.

I’m looking forward to working closely with a range of clients to create tangible outcomes for communities — and see the positive impact they create!

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I feel most rewarded by providing a creative input into the public realm that responds to the local environment and site conditions — and of course, seeing people enjoy those spaces.

What are you looking forward to as part of your role?
I’m excited to reconnect with local council and state government clients and developers to deliver meaningful local public realm projects.

You can read more about Marko here.

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