We began 2015 with a meeting of the revived Large Practice Forum. Senior staff from 25 of the largest practices attended with many responding to Chapter Council’s request to send younger and newer Directors. The group is planning on meeting every two months with an agenda of engaging with key state stakeholders on issues such as state planning, the role of the Government Architect, international developers and procurement models. The next meeting in late April will have the Acting Government Architect, Jill Garner, presenting on the current status of the OVGA.
Two more Friday Night X events have been held at 41X, with themes of architecture and the critic, and architecture and public art, being explored. By the time of publication there will have been one more event looking at families in the city. This first series of talks, curated by Ashleigh Briggs from Fender Katsilidas is the beginning of what is hoped will be an ongoing opportunity for members to engage with and explore their city and what makes it tick. Halfway through the year the next curator, Anna Maskiell, takes on the mantle to curate the next set of informal talks. It is on the third Friday of the month and everyone is encouraged to come along.
In early March we met with the new Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, who has just taken up the role due to ill health. It was a very positive meeting and we are looking forward to a better relationship with this Government. Our discussion included:
The Minister also indicated that he is happy to come along to a number of key Institute events during the year.
An interview with him published in The Age on March 9 confirmed his support for a review of high density housing and the introduction of minimum apartment design standards.
Our good relationship with other peak industry bodies is ongoing, with discussions centred on apartment development pipeline and minimum standards, public realm issues, planning, and the proposed Infrastructure Victoria body.
There have been some staff changes at the Chapter in the last quarter with the much respected Libby Richardson moving on from her role as Awards Coordinator to move back in to practice. We wish Libby all the best for her next adventure. Lucy Spychal has shifted across from her role as Administration Coordinator to take on the role of Awards and Prizes Coordinator. We have been fortunate in being able to recruit a new Administration Coordinator, Katherine Sip, who comes to us after 6 years working at the Design Institute of Australia. We have also been joined by Jacinda Soussan and Gemma James as events and awards support staff. The Chapter is humming!
By Diego Ramirez-Lovering
The first quarter of 2015 has seen the Education Committee continue to engage with issues pertaining to Architecture School Activities at a state level as well as contributing to discussions and providing advocacy for education matters at a national level.
The 2015 Joint Industry Graduate Prize winners were announced at a special ceremony on March 28 as part of the Presentation to Juries event at Monash University, Caulfield. A winner was chosen from each of Victoria’s four Schools of Architecture, and the Committee would like to congratulate Andrew Lim (Monash) XuânSơnNguyễn (RMIT), Kurt Jury (UniMelb) and Aaron Cody (Deakin), as well as Emily Von Moger (Deakin) who was awarded the Graduate Prize for Sustainable Architecture. Thank you to sponsors Hayball, Elenberg Fraser, Bates Smart, Bates Smart, McGlashanEverist and NowArchitecture for supporting the prizes.
In other developments related to the student body, the Education Committee has reintroduced the Student Ideas Competition which invites all Victorian-enrolled architecture students to submit a solution to a brief based on a real life site. This year, students are required to submit their vision to revitalise the Queen Victorian Market precinct. Submissions will close in July after which a winner will be chosen.
In ongoing matters the Committee is continuing to ensure national policies for the professional education of architects are being implemented, and is contributing to the scheduled accreditation reviews of Victorian-based courses that lead to professional qualifications in architecture. The Committee continues to encourage and foster collaboration between Victoria’s Architecture Schools.
The Practice Committee includes a Senior Counsellor member who provides regular updates of the key queries raised by members in day to day practice. Of greatest numbers appears to be those within contract administration, often from younger members or newer practices. While this may be reflective of due diligence on the part
of these members, it could also be indicative of a lack of knowledge and insight.
Clearly as individuals we are responsible for our own knowledge and skills. Equally leadership within the profession requires us to equip future generations to continue in a competent manner. Larger practices and smaller practices alike have a responsibility to assist in the development of these skills by providing support and a structured experience in all aspects of practice.
The practice notes go a long way to support the required knowledge. However, day to day core experience is required in partnership with those tools. It is the profession’s responsibility to support better practice within our profession in a combination of methods inclusive of considered and comprehensive mentoring.
We once again had an enthusiastic response to the expressions of interest for jury members which helped inform deliberations over the all-important jury make up. This year’s 197 presentations were spread over two days and two locations. Proceedings commenced with a well-attended evening at 41 Exhibition Street on Friday 27 March showcasing a combination of Residential New, and Alteration and Addition projects. This was followed by the typically vibrant day of diverse project presentations at MADA, Monash University, Caulfield on Saturday 28 March.
As site visits take place and juries consider their shortlisted projects, we look forward to the Exhibition of Entries, running for 2 weeks from 26 May in the Atrium at Federation Square, and the Presentation Dinner on Friday 26 June at Peninsula, Docklands. We are also pleased to confirm the naming of The Henry Bastow Award for Educational Architecture, a new category in the 2015 Awards program which we look forward to awarding for the first time this year.