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Feature article

Institute News


Victorian Chapter Council

Alison Cleary

In 2013 there was a marked increase in the popularity of the Smaller Practice Forum, which has now devolved in to a Smaller Practice Forum and a Medium Practice Forum. Members from sole, small and medium sized practices continue to engage with and drive the agenda for both these Forums and the Chapter is working with key members from both groups to identify ways in which support can be provided. There have not been any meetings of the Larger Practice Forum since August 2013 primarily due to lack of interest from participating practices. The new 2014 Chapter Council is looking at new ways to engage this section of the membership more effectively.


External opportunities and challenges – VBA/ARBV

There are no updates to report in the ongoing restructure of the ARBV and VBA. We continue to meet with Departmental staff and continue to be assured that all is running to schedule. At the time of writing this column, the Institute had not seen the proposed changes to the Architect’s Act, scheduled to be passed through Parliament in time for legislative changes to come in to force on 1 July. Geoffrey London’s role as an inaugural VBA Commissioner will end at the end of June 2014. The Institute congratulates Yvonne von Hartel from peckvonhartel for her appointment to the VBA Board as a Commissioner.


41X – the new home of the Victorian Chapter

Chapter Council has been involved in the development of an outreach program for the new 41X building that will both look to actively engaging members in the space and also promote the building as a focus for architecture more broadly in Melbourne. Current plans include a Friday Night X speakers program that will hold monthly informal events, with design/creative presentations, providing an opportunity for the profession to drop in, be inspired, network with colleagues and find out more about the offerings of the Institute.  We are also planning Paper Bag Wednesdays, which will be a more publicly focussed series of talks held one Wednesday lunchtime a month.


Victorian 2014 Chapter Council elections

In a practical reflection of the Institute’s recently passed Gender Equity Policy the newly elected Chapter Council is now gender imbalanced in favour of women – for the first time. There has also been a significant increase in interest in participation on Chapter Council, with 13 people standing for the 6 available positions. A substantial increase in general member interest was also evident with over 1000 members lodging votes in the election.


Sustainable Architecture Forum (SAF)

Alex Nock

One of the key objectives of the SAF is to encourage and support education of architects in the area of sustainability and in particular, support our future architects who are currently studying at Victorian Universities. The Graduate Prize in Sustainable Architecture is a collaborative initiative between the SAF, the Victorian Universities, the Victorian Chapter and its Education Committee.

It is the second time this prize has been awarded and it was fantastic to see the Graduate Prize ceremony being a part of the Vic Awards Presentation to Juries day.

We would like to congratulate Nur Melati, Deakin University who was awarded the 2014 Graduate Prize in Sustainable Architecture, with Amanda Masip, Melbourne University and Camilla Bourke, Monash University both receiving commendations.

A special thank you must go to NOW Architecture for their very generous sponsorship of the Graduate Prize. Lastly, thank you to the jurors – Jeanne Lee, Terry Nott, Jane Toner and Neville Cowland – for their behind the scenes efforts in assessing the entrants.


Heritage Committee

Anne-Marie Treweeke

One of the ways the Heritage Committee will meet its obligations to the membership is through promoting and engaging with other major players in the Heritage field.  A recent development has been the proactive engagement with Heritage Victoria through a joint initiative between the Institute and Heritage Victoria, resulting in a closer relationship.

Some of the benefits will be:

  • Coordination of information through Vmail to link our membership to the available Heritage Victoria CPD and Planet courses that will be useful to practitioners;
  • Working collaboratively to run seminars on relevant aspects of the regulations and application process;
  • Improved information exchange on buildings and sites being nominated for the register;
  • The opportunity to assist in the process to identify vulnerable/at-risk properties that are not currently afforded adequate protection.

We welcome this initiative as it enables the Institute to actively participate in the processes, debates and promotion of heritage in our daily practice of architecture.


Member Services Committee

Clare Cousins

The Member Services Committee (MSC) was pleased to welcome new committee members Aidan James and Allen Kong to our February meeting, and is looking forward to a number of events for both Vic Chapter members and the broader community.

BLOCKS for Little Architects will be making a return to Federation Square in 2014, with the first session to be held on 18 May. Budding designers will be inspired to recreate buildings submitted in this year’s Victorian Architecture Awards using Lego.

The first of this year’s Perimeter Networking Series seminars will take place in May at BKK Architects/TCL Partnership’s Lonsdale Street Dandenong redevelopment.

Following on from the success of last year’s SONA event featuring Speed Networking an Architect, Elenberg Fraser have kindly offered to host this year’s event in August.

Further information regarding these upcoming events will be shared in Vmail.


Awards Committe

James Staughton

This year’s 200+ jury presentations commenced with a well-attended evening at 41 Exhibition Street on 14 March. This was followed by the rich and bustling day of presentations at MADA, Monash University, Caulfield on 15 March. After last year’s successful open door trial, all presentation rooms were open on Saturday, except at peak times when the doors remained closed due to the noisy conditions. The open presentation rooms allowed a free flow of observers between presentations with more people watching and less in the corridors.

The task of choosing this year’s juries was as complex and considered as ever, following an enthusiastic response to the expressions of interest and extensive discussions to reach a representative balance of experience, new blood, gender equity, and practice type and size.

As the juries consider their shortlisted projects and as awards are being decided, we look forward to the Exhibition of Entries. This year it will be held at the Atrium at Federation Square for two weeks, running from 3 – 15 June. The Presentation Dinner is on 20 June and once again held at The Peninsula Room, Central Pier, Docklands.