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Feature article



This will be my last message before I hand over to the incoming Chapter President and a refreshed Chapter Council.

WORDS BY Jon Clements

At this point in time the Chapter Council nominations have closed and we have received 13 nominations contesting six seats. This number represents a significant increase over recent years and the nominations demonstrate improved gender balance and rising interest from young architects who would like to become more closely involved with the Institute. The voting process is currently underway and I wish the incoming Chapter Council and the incoming Chapter President all the best for the year ahead.

In December 2013, the Institute moved into 41 Exhibition Street (41X) and by the time you read this message the Victorian Chapter will be well and truly settled in our new home. Numerous people have been involved (over many years) in the delivery of this important project and all deserve our thanks. However on behalf of our members I would like to express particular thanks to David Parken – Institute CEO, Ross Clark – Institute COO, Lyons and Hassell. The Victorian Chapter Council clearly understand the important opportunities the new building will provide for our members. You can expect to see a range of new events and programs emerging in 2014, which will bring members together in a supportive and social environment while expanding our level of public engagement.

Reflecting on the past couple of years I can say that my term as President has provided me with much enjoyment and also many challenges. When I was nominated for this role the one thing that our Chapter Council could not control was the economic environment that our profession would be faced with during our term. With the benefit of hindsight this provided the Chapter Council and our various committees with an important opportunity to provide a louder voice to air many shared concerns among our members.
Perhaps one of the most prominent concerns surrounding our members has been the diminishing role of the architect in favour of alternative professional service providers such as project managers. As a profession I believe that we need to resist unethical procurement processes and focus on repositioning the perceived value of the architect to where it should be – over and above those who are competing for our diminishing space. I am confident the amplification of these issues will continue under refreshed Chapter and National Councils and I look forward to supporting the Institute in the role of Immediate Past President with a view to regaining what was traditionally the architects’ territory.

Over the  past two years I have been working alongside a very enthusiastic and engaged Chapter Council and I would like to thank them all for their support and contributions during my term. Chapter Council and I are also very closely supported by a very talented team at the Victorian Chapter led by Alison Cleary and I would like to thank the Institute team for their tireless commitment in support of our membership needs across a broad range of spaces.

I have spent many years involved with the Institute on Chapter Council and subsequently in the role of Chapter President and the experience and knowledge that I have gained through active participation has been both incredibly rewarding and fundamental to the development of my architectural practice and professional network. The Institute is clearly the strongest voice for the advancement if our profession, however the strength of our voice relies on the support and contributions of many of our members and in this respect we are largely a volunteer-based organisation. If you are interested in advancing our profession and feel that you have a valuable contribution to make I would encourage you to put yourself forward for a position on a relevant committee or Chapter Council to ensure that we can continue to be as effective as possible.

Clarification Note – 2013 Architect Victoria Spring edition The Venice Campaign referred to in the article “Beyond the Business…” relates to the petition/campaign organised by OpenHAUS to which many architects and interested parties contributed. It should not be confused with the Di Stasio Ideas Competition for the Australian Venice Biennale pavilion in 2008 promoted by Ronnie di Stasio.