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Feature article

Institute news


Victorian Chapter Council

Alison Cleary

The 2015 Constructive Mentoring Program was launched in March following another successful International Women’s Day breakfast event for 150 held at the Hellenic Museum. This year we are pleased to have AWS on board as sponsor for the Constructive Mentoring Program. Participant numbers in this year’s program are similar to previous years (approximately 20 pairs) although it has to be noted that recruiting willing mentors to be able to resource the numbers of potential mentees is becoming more and more difficult every year.

In this quarter we have had two Large Practice Forum events. The first in April had a presentation from Jill Garner, the Acting Government Architect and then in early June Richard Wynne, the Minister for Planning, attended to speak about Apartment Design standards, Fishermen’s Bend, Zoning Reforms and Plan Melbourne.

Monthly Friday Night X events have been held at 41X, with Anna Maskiell picking up as curator of the second six-month series following the initial series that was coordinated by Ashleigh Briggs. Numbers at the monthly public outreach event have been consistent, with a slight drop (as expected) as we move in to the colder months.

In early May we held our second Member’s Forum – this one titled ‘Talk It Out’. We had approximately 80 members present at the event, and again the issue of member’s expectations of the Institute as an engaged and active advocate for the profession was the priority topic. The transcript of this event will shortly be published via Vmail for all members to read.

The Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, opened the National Architecture Conference in May and used the opportunity to announce a number of initiatives that we had called for in our election campaign (#buildquality): the release of a discussion paper on apartment design standards; the reinstatement of the OVGA to the Department of Premier and Cabinet; and suitable resourcing to enable the continuation of the Design Review Panels. Our final election ask – the introduction of an independent Infrastructure Victoria – has also been announced.

We have met regularly with either the Minister for Planning or members of his staff, and have also had meetings with Martin Foley, Minister for Housing and Creative Industries (among other things) and senior members of a number of the Departments he has responsibility for. In July and August we are committed to engaging with the Government and industry on the following four key advocacy issues:

  • Development of Apartment Design Standards – Department Planning / OVGA
  • Development of a Creative Industries Strategies – Creative Victoria
  • Review of the Heritage Act – Department Planning
  • Hosting a professional roundtable with Department Industries on Industry Strategy (Professional Services)

In addition to these Government consultation/submission processes we are also heavily involved in the industry response to the fallout from the Lacrosse Building fire in Docklands late last year which has turned the spotlight on product substitution and compliance in the sector, an issue that the Institute is also engaging with nationally.


Sustainable Architecture forum

Rory Martin

Two Raising the Green Bar (RtBG) events have been run by the Sustainable Architecture Forum (SAF) this quarter. ‘Measuring Up’ on April 30 brought together speakers on NaBERS, Green Star, Living Building Challenge, BESS and FirstRate. Some lively debate was had around the pros and cons of each tool and where their use is most effective. The second event, held on June 12, was ‘Sustainable Apartments: Trapped Inside the Bubble’ where a developer, architect and council representative presented on and discussed the current state of Melbourne apartments, and how we can deliver more sustainable results. Both events were well attended and the Institute wishes to thank bankmecu for their support of these events.

Stay tuned for RtGB events for the second half of the year.

NOWarchitecture once again sponsored the Graduate Prize in Sustainable Architecture for 2015. The jury unanimously awarded the prize to Emily Von Moger of Deakin University.

In other news, SAF is continuing to work with SONA on promoting sustainability amongst student members, and SAF would like to thank RegRippon for his contributions to the Forum as he steps down. Finally Institute members are welcome to attend and contribute to SAF meetings which are held monthly at 41X. Contact the Victorian Chapter for further details.


Practice of Architecture Committee

Kim Irons

Many of us recognise the economy of practice has been a challenge in the last several years, and it is difficult to see that changing significantly in the near future. One of the key roles the Practice Committee is to raise key issues which affect the practice of architecture and make us relevant to the community and culture in which we operate.

Aware of the multiple scale and variations of practice, the Committee has nominated new practice notes for both new smaller practitioners and larger firms. These include issues such as establishing protocols for working drawings and office manuals, using architects after planning permit, and the role of the architect in the evolving and complex building contracts. It is anticipated the committee will pursue these further in 2015.


Friday night x

Anna Maskiel, Public Realm Lab

What do architects do?

What kinds of projects do they contribute to?

How are these projects procured?

How does architectural thinking make our communities more equitable, beautiful, meaningful and sustainable?

What else could, or should, architects be doing?

Over the next six months the Friday Night X, hosted by Victorian Chapter, will be curated by emerging practice Public Realm Lab. The series will feature a program of talks that will bring together architects and the people that they work for, and with, to examine these questions.

The free program of monthly talks, ‘The Expert + The Architect’, will feature community, business, cultural and institutional leaders who conceive of, fund, procure and deliver the projects that shape our city. As subject-matter experts they will share insights into their world: political imperatives, funding, procurement and delivery models, demand for increased productivity and most importantly, a vision of a happier, healthier, better educated, and safer community that they are working towards. All of these factors are forces acting upon the practice and procurement of public architecture – but how well do we understand them?

Aimed at practitioners, students and emerging architects Friday Night X will provide a unique opportunity to hear from senior clients about their perception of the value of architects. The increased complexity of public projects and their models for delivery can offer opportunities for architects to play new and expanded roles but only if we understand our clients and can help them describe services and thinking that they may not know exists.

Friday Night X is a key initiative of the Victorian Chapter Council and this six month series, ‘The Expert + The Architect’, is curated by Public Realm Lab. It is a unique, accessible forum for engaging with the community that we serve and advocating for architecture. We’d love to see you there.


Friday Night X: The expert + the architect
6pm – 9pm, 41X, 41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne


Fri Aug 21       On: Cultural Translation
Fri Sep 18    Special Event
Oct 23   On: Sport + community
Nov 20 On: Collaboration


Bird & Adams to feature on architecture-inspired tram

Anna Maskiel, Public Realm Lab

Nine winning architecture-inspired designs for the 2015 Melbourne Festival’s Melbourne Art Trams project have recently been unveiled. One of the chosen designs is by Matthew Bird and Phillip Adams’ collaboration, Bird & Adams and will feature their Rooftop Landing and Freeway works. Architect Victoria readers will remember both of these projects from their feature in our Autumn edition.

This years’ Melbourne Art Trams project is themed ‘Architecture and the city’, and aims to encourage reflection on the city’s architecture, urban planning and interiors. Keep an eye out for the trams that will appear around the city’s tram routes from October – April 2016.

Images: Courtesy of the Melbourne Festival.

Images: Courtesy of the Melbourne Festival.


Awards  Committee

James Staughton

The Peninsula in Docklands again hosted the Awards dinner on Friday June 26, the culmination of the 2015 Victorian Awards Program. 197 entries were received with 36 awards, 21 commendations and 3 prizes awarded, in addition to the Bates Smart Award for Architecture in the Media, making for another impressive year.

Comedian Claire Hooper did a great job as MC, bringing charm and wit to the occasion in difficult circumstances. Having been substituted into the role at the last minute she had the task of controlling the huge room of people, not all of who could resist from talking through the presentations. A bustling dance floor allowed celebrations to continue well into the evening and made for a great night all round.

The Exhibition of Entries in the Atrium at Federation Square was again a success, bringing public exposure to the whole field of entries and attracting much public interest.

Many thanks all those involved including the team at the Institute, the Award Jurors, the Awards Committee members, the student helpers and most importantly the field of entrants. With their dedication and creativity in imagining, realising and presenting their work, they are the lifeblood of the Victorian Awards Program.