Spotlight – Camille Roche

Camille Roche, Designer & GIG Leader – Hong Kong, Woods Bagot

Driven by an understanding of the importance of wellness and sustainable practices in the design industry and beyond, Camille has gained LEED, WELL and TRUE certifications over the years, which have allowed to educate herself and others on the topics of energy, environmental design, the pursuit and achievement of zero waste goals, cutting carbon footprints and more.

Camille put her formidable skills and passion to good work with her involvement in Hong Kong’s Advancing Net Zero competition, which proposed a viable and strategic approach to achieving decarbonization in Hong Kong by 2050. She describes the experience as an “inspiring exercise in collaboration and trust,” explaining her affinity with work and values that are “centered upon commitment towards a more livable and sustainable future, leading with empathy and promoting diversity and equity in our studio as much as possible.”

Camille worked for many years under the guidance of Stefano Tronci, former Associate Principal and GIG Regional leader at Woods Bagot. As the Global Impact Group officially launched last July, she took on the role of GIG leader for Hong Kong studio and Asia region.

Can you tell us about your achievements, certifications and your passion behind sustainability in architecture?

Born and bred in France, moving to Hong Kong in 2016 was a significant eye-opening experience. This city, as incredible as it can be, faces several environmental challenges, such as extreme population density, limited land resources, and urbanization. This made me quickly realize I would have to reconsider behaviors that are deeply ingrained in the French way of living, with waste management being one of them. The TRUE advisor certificate, powered by GBCI, was a significant first step as I embarked on a sustainable journey.  

Fast forward 5 years, I have gained more certifications that have allowed me to better understand  green building standards and the industry. I have grown into a more experienced architect and also into a mother, and my commitment directly stems from that. In 2022, I joined the second cohort of the Sky Blue Program, run by Common Purpose. This is an extraordinary online leadership program for anyone working on environmental challenges. Climate change knows no boundaries, and the pace is fast. The leaders of tomorrow are working in complete unfamiliar territory. The only way to deliver sustainable and socially just solutions is to enable people to work collaboratively across generations, beliefs, and sectors. 

Avatar Hong Kong, a concept design by Woods Bagot and Buro Happold, received the Merit Award at the Advancing Net Zero Ideas Competition organised by The Hong Kong Green Building Council with Swire Properties.

You were involved in the event Advanced Net Zero Competition hosted by Archifocus. Can you tell us a bit about the event and its significance?

Steven Jones, the former Woods Bagot Regional Director, is a very passionate advocate for sustainability. He chose to engage in the first Net Zero Idea Competition organized in Hong Kong. 

In Phase 1, our first workshops ran as design charettes. A key factor was that everyone in the room, from young designer to experienced principals, was unfamiliar with designing for Net Zero. The need for everyone to learn and have an open discussion about it, felt encouraging. I remember a sense of complete freedom to share and bounce back ideas with one another.  

Around this time, we also established a partnership with the Buro Happold Hong Kong team. It’s fair to say that designers and engineers don’t always see eye to eye. However, as their team members (Robert, Lizette, Vimal, Jason, John) joined our sessions, biases quickly disappeared, and true collaboration began. Over the weeks, we became a strong team that overcame all challenges to push for the most relevant solutions. We were shortlisted in Phase 1 and deepened our joint effort in the final stage. The Avatar emerged out of intense weeks of partnership and was awarded the 3rd place prize. We still maintain a strong friendship with the Buro Happold team to this day! 

In Woods Bagot’s journey toward a sustainable future, as part of the Global Impact Group (GIG), what’s your recent practice on sustainable design? What have you learnt that you’d like to share with others?

As part of the Global Impact Group (GIG), we are encouraged to work together in new ways and work with project teams as early as possible for the best outcomes and strategy.

The GIG is a completely new approach to design that pushes everyone to collaborate. Not only in one direction (GIG to project team) but it is beneficial to have an ongoing collaboration and conversation, back and forth, between the GIG and project teams.

We aim to work with every project team to define a scope and build an invaluable partnership – adapting to team constraints, establishing a strong collaboration.

As a GIG leader, my primary goal isn’t just to improve projects; It’s to unite the teams around the “whys” and “hows” of sustainable design. We must recognize that when people come to work, they often have their own agendas. Designing for sustainability requires a readiness to listen.

When it comes down to our sustainable practice, every conversation should have three objectives:

  1. Increase understanding
  2. Lay out all the desired outcomes
  3. Enhance the relationship

Early conversations and collaboration are essential. The GIG team is enthusiastic about empowering teams to drive change and contribute together to the studios growing progress in sustainability.

My motto at Woods Bagot, “my eagerness contributes as an asset” which stays true to the GIG team.


GIG diagram

What are you looking forward to, for example, any upcoming projects nearing completion or certification?

The first project I collaborated on, featuring a GIG component, involved the retrofit of a Hong Kong Bank. This localized project, situated in the heart of Central just 5 minutes away from the studio, is spearheaded by the workplace team. We are currently in the SD phase and are aiming for both LEED and WELL platinum certifications. The project entails coordination among numerous stakeholders, and we track the progress of the scorecards through various workshops, providing everyone with an opportunity to become more acquainted with the implications of sustainable and people-centric design. 

Given that this is a retrofit, the emphasis on reuse and upcycling is substantial. The project is set to showcase innovative sustainable features, particularly focusing on recycled existing glass and granite – which the team is very excited about. 

Initially, the client targeted LEED gold with WELL being optional. However, due to clear goals set from the competition stage and early discussions in the project, designing for both certifications have proceeded seamlessly. The client’s enthusiasm has grown, leading to a decision to aim for the highest level of certification for both LEED and WELL. This has not only empowered the team but also made the entire process highly rewarding!

Camille Roche debriefing Rethink Forum and introducing ‘Lunch n Learn’ sessions in the Woods Bagot Hong Kong studio.

Camille obtained the LEED Green Associate certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in March 2018. In October 2019, they also became a TRUE Advisor certified by Green Business Certification, Inc. Recently, in September 2022, Camille obtained the WELL AP certification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and the Sky Blue certification from Common Purpose in March 2022.

If you want to connect with Camille or have any questions about GIG, send us a message.

Media enquiries
Shirley Hao
Content and Communications Leader (China)

Latest from the Global Studio