The 2016 Awards Program is full steam ahead, with 197 entries again this year. A major change in this year’s program was the shift of venue for the Presentation to Juries from Monash University to University of Melbourne. Monash has hosted this event for the previous 5 years – their incredible support was key to the ongoing success of this component of the Awards program. Hosting of this event amounts to ten’s of thousands of dollars of in-kind support to the Chapter and we are extremely grateful to both Monash and now University of Melbourne for their continued support for both this and other Chapter programs.
Due to the confusion around the mandatory nature of CPD in Victoria, in February we held an extremely well attended joint information session with the Registration Board and Architeam to explain the status of CPD in Victoria. New regulations to the Architect’s Act were introduced in May 2015 that formalised a Code of Conduct for architects which provided the ARBV the opportunity to link ongoing registration with the need to show ongoing competency. The preferred mechanism for doing this is via Continuing Professional Development with architects required to show that they have completed a certain amount of CPD annually, unless they make a separate case as to why they do not have to. This comes in to force in July 2016.
We have strengthened our relationships with Government as an outcome of a number of events/initiatives that they have sought assistance with. We have been working with the OVGA to deliver a response to the Christmas bushfires in Wye River that saw approx. 130 homes lost. Rather than repeat the bushfire response from the 2009 Black Saturday fires we are working with a number of members and the OVGA to stage a public exhibition plus design advisory program for those that lost (primarily holiday) homes in the fires.
In another initiative we provided last minute support to Creative Victoria to help them deliver a program of events for 2 design focussed trade missions (Hong Kong and Italy) coming to Melbourne around Melbourne Fashion week and looking to network with Melbourne based architects and visit notable Melbourne buildings and practices.
We continue to engage with the Government on the development of apartment standards; the refresh of Plan Melbourne; a new review of the residential zones reform process that occurred under the previous government; the continued fallout from the Lacrosse building fire in Nov 2014; the development of the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2015; and the review of the interim height controls put in place in 2015.
In terms of the Lacrosse Fire the VBA in February published their report detailing the findings of its external wall cladding audit and the steps they will take in relation to these findings. The VBA audit concluded that the rate of non-compliance was high (51%) but was of a low risk and all buildings remain safe to occupy. Also identified were issues with documentation and design detail and that decisions made by different categories of building practitioner throughout the construction process contributed to the rate of non-compliance. We continue to consult with the VBA alongside other stakeholders, and are using this forum to advocate for the registration of Project Managers.
Last year we welcomed Jodie Mitchell’s appointment as our Australian Institute of Architects Chapter Continuing Professional Development Co-ordinator and Practice Committee supporting staff member. Jodie comes with great experience and has slipped into the role with a rigorous and inquisitive approach. Not only has she provided the support we need in day to day operations, obtaining information as required, but her freshness to the role has allowed the committee to look at its purpose and how best we can support members.
As a result the Committee is seeking ways to notify members of issues that may arise in practice. While we will continue to nominate topics for Acumen practice notes, we will be using more immediate tools such as V-mail news, nominating CPD topics and editing Acumen practice notes to disseminate information to members as quickly as possible. We will be drawing on other committees and forums for relevant topic, but welcome any input from other members as they arise.
We also welcomed Bruce Allen and David Sainsbury to the Committee this year. Both David and Bruce have extensive practice experience, and look forward to their valuable contributions.
It is that time of year again. Awards time.
The beginning of the year commenced with the selection of juries. A great response to the EOI process assisted enormously with the committee’s deliberations. A total number of 197 entries were submitted this year judged across 14 categories.
Presentation to Juries commenced at 41X on the Friday evening, 18 March, with a great crowd who gathered to watch the beginning of the Residential Alterations and Additions presentations. 2016 saw the changing of the guard with regard to the Saturday venue. This year it was held at Melbourne School of Design. We would like to thank Melbourne University and Professor Donald Bates for their hospitality for what proved to be a very well attended event. The day ran extremely smoothly thanks to the efforts of the Institute Awards Coordinator Lucy Spychal, the Victorian Chapter Manager Alison Cleary, the Institute team and the student helpers who assisted enormously in keeping the timing of presentations in ship shape. We would also like to thank Monash University, in particular Professor Shane Murray and Professor Diego Ramirez-Lovering for their support and generosity over the past 5 years in providing an equally great venue for the weekend presentations.
As I write this, judging is in full swing with site visits underway, where an abundance of travel time allows for plenty of deliberation and debate as to which projects will make the short list.
The Awards exhibition is the next item on the Awards social calendar with the exhibition taking on a new format this year at new venue No Vacancy Gallery, QV. The exhibition officially opens on Thursday 9 June and will run from 7 – 19 June. This is followed by the Awards Presentation Dinner which will be held on Friday 24 June at Peninsula Docklands. We would like to congratulate all 2016 entrants for their dedication and perseverance in the pursuit of a common cause and wish you all the very best for the June announcements.
Lastly there have been a number changes to the committee this year. We would like to acknowledge and thank retiring members James Staughton and Tim Jackson for their valuable contribution. Tim Jackson has served on the committee since 2010. James Staughton joined the committee in 2007 and has served as Chair for the past three years. James and Tim’s wealth of knowledge and expertise has provided a great platform for the ongoing evolution of the Victorian Architecture Awards. With the departure of James and Tim we would like to welcome incoming members Matt Gibson and Jesse Judd. We look forward to their contribution.