Parlour women, equity, architecture. Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:47:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Business from their Perspective Sat, 16 Jul 2016 06:30:29 +0000 Hear Janne Ryan, Eve Clark and Hannah Tribe share their insights and wisdom about business at this upcoming Sydney breakfast event.

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Hear Janne Ryan, Eve Clark and Hannah Tribe share their insights and wisdom about business at this upcoming Sydney breakfast event.

Perspectives INSTAGRAM 1
Perspectives is a new speaker series that is all about the sharing of conversation and ideas to provide inspiration within the creative community.

Talk 02 tackles the topic of Business. Speakers include Janne Ryan, co-founder and leader of the Creative Music Fund; Eve Clark, Design Manager for AMP Capital; and Hannah Tribe, founder and principal of Tribe Studio Architects.


Thursday 4 August

8am–9.30am, Doors open 7.30am


Eternity Playhouse
(Darlinghurst Theatre)
39 Burton Street
Darlinghurst NSW


$10 + bf
Light breakfast, tea and coffee provided
Book your tickets here.

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Class and Creed in Australian Architecture Fri, 15 Jul 2016 06:48:13 +0000 Class and connections can make or break a career, but does a class-ist culture serve the architecture profession well? Or does it limit the industry’s relevance to the community at large? Sam Perversi-Brooks digs down into the little-discussed but all-important issue of class.

The post Class and Creed in Australian Architecture appeared first on Parlour.

Class and connections can make or break a career, but does a class-ist culture serve the architecture profession well? Or does it limit the industry’s relevance to the community at large? Sam Perversi-Brooks digs down into the little-discussed but all-important issue of class.

SPB photo

First, I’d like to preface this by stating that I am a man, I am white, I am straight, I am pretty much 6 feet tall and I am a registered, practising architect … So, I’m probably not the best candidate to comment with any great insight on many of the issues that Parlour engages with regarding equality in architecture. However, as ‘the norm’ (male, white, straight, tall-ish, registered, practising), I do believe I have something to say on class and creed in Australian architecture. This is based on my decade or so in the industry, and in reflections on my recent experience of starting my own practice after eight years at one of Melbourne’s ‘top-tier’ design firms.

I think architecture in Australia has a problem with class. This limits the profession and stifles creativity, innovation and difference.

Of course, many people are uncomfortable acknowledging the extent to which Australia still faces issues of class. It is not the intent of this essay to go into this in any great detail – here I want to focus on the implications of class on the architectural profession. But I encourage unconvinced, or further interested readers to delve more deeply into the class issue by pursuing The Conversation’s excellent series on Class in Australia, particularly Christopher Scanlon’s piece ‘Bogans and Hipsters…’, and Tim Winton’s brilliant essay for The Monthly ‘Some Thoughts About Class in Australia – The C Word’.1

Class, defined simplistically, is ‘a system of ordering society whereby people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status’. Creed, on the other hand, is ‘a set of beliefs or aims which guide someone’s actions’. Class and creed are both bound up in tradition. For example, there’s the old adage, ‘behind every great man, is a great woman’. It’s tradition in Australia for women to take maternity leave while the man returns to work a couple of weeks after the birth of his child. It’s tradition that women are then afforded more flexible working conditions than their male colleagues because they are mothers. I’ve seen many occasions when a man asking for a more flexible work environment is scoffed at, ‘Oh we don’t do that. Only mothers are allowed to work in a part-time capacity.’ It’s ingrained – a tradition – that recent graduates believe they must work long hours of unpaid overtime in order to climb the ranks of the commercial architectural practice. And it’s tradition that directors of successful architecture companies are typically old and white and well connected. All of this is part of a class system as defined above. This is why class and creed are important topics to discuss within the context of Parlour’s larger mission.

I will start with my own experience, as this is what I’m best placed to reflect upon.

While still studying I was lucky enough to land a job at one of Melbourne’s leading design practices. I worked there for the remainder of my bachelor and masters degrees. I graduated from RMIT with the Anne Butler Memorial Prize. I worked hard, and I was lucky. After graduating, I was ‘groomed’ by this large design practice – I hope primarily due to my talents and skill-set, but I think also because I fit the architectural stereotype. I was exactly the type of person you could easily put in front of a room of clients, consultants or builders and feel ‘comfortable with’ – a ‘front-end guy’ as the directors referred to me on numerous occasions.

Yet I didn’t go to the ‘right’ schools. I was born in Melbourne but grew up in Tasmania – probably the ‘wrong’ state in many ways. So I don’t have the high-school connections, the established family and business networks ingrained by many long summers spent down at the Portsea beach house. I went to a Steiner primary school. My parents were … are … an artist (author/illustrator) and a primary school teacher (music/craft). I then went to a state high school and college (year 11 and 12 in Tasmania are separated in the state system), after turning down a bursary to Hutchins – Hobart’s equivalent of Melbourne Grammar or something (much to my parents’ horror!). Maybe my first taste of how class subtly operates was as the principal of the school only became particularly interested in me once I told him who my parents were – he clearly wanted them as part of the larger school community. I probably wasn’t particularly fussed by this at the time, however. It was more the unofficial school motto of ‘Moulding your boys into tomorrow’s leaders’, repeated time and time again during my application interview that really rubbed me up the wrong way, particularly the use of the word ‘mould’ in relation to an individual …

It is only recently, as I’ve ventured out on my own establishing Perversi-Brooks Architects, that I more clearly see how class comes into play. I’ve reflected upon whether that decision all those years ago – to not go to the wealthy, somewhat elitist boys school – was the right one. Certainly having lots of high-school friends wanting to renovate or rebuild their homes, or their parents’ beach houses, helps the projects flow in during the early years of running your own business. But obviously this was not the decision that I made at the ripe old age of 14, and on reflection it is not something I would change either, even though it would certainly help the cash flow!

I believe class plays a big role in architecture, one that is not often spoken about other than in jest, ‘Oh you’re just not hanging at the right bars!’. We’ve all heard the stories, true or not, of the radical architect, who can somehow ‘afford’ to do only great, interesting projects, because (so it is told) she/he is already independently wealthy, or has got a sugar mumma/daddy taking care of the bills behind the scenes. Isn’t it a great loss to the profession to have to be able to ‘afford to do great work’…?

Many (read most) of my architecture friends and colleagues, male and female, from university, and from the broader industry went to private schools (the right ones) or at the very least come from pretty comfortable backgrounds – they are what I would consider reasonably privileged.

I see myself in this light too, I’m certainly not the first one in my family to attend university, and both my parents are tertiary educated professionals who encouraged their children to pursue creative, meaningful work. For this I realise how lucky (and privileged) I really am. But they are certainly not upper class, and not working class, or what I would consider middle class either. Perhaps this lack of definition undermines my own argument – I don’t even clearly know what class I am. I guess if pushed I’d have to label it ‘creative class’. But that just sounds pretentious, and I don’t really even know what it means anyway.

In ‘Some thoughts about Class in Australia – the C Word’ , Tim Winton writes:
‘Range of choice, I discovered, was a key indicator of class. Some choices are conferred by birth, while others have to be won by hard work …The soundest measure of a person’s social status is mobility. And the chief source of mobility is money. Whether you’re born to it or accumulate it, wealth determines a citizen’s choices of education, housing, health care and employment. It will be an indicator of health, of longevity. Money still talks loudest. Even if it often speaks from the corner of its mouth. Even if it covers its mouth entirely.’

I’ve certainly been lucky to have parents who supported me to pursue a career in architecture, financially for the first year-and-a-bit when I moved to Melbourne to study, and earlier as a child when I expressed interest in architecture as a career. But I’ve also worked hard and now have a huge range of choice – I chose to leave my job in order to start my own practice, I can choose to travel to foreign countries for holidays and architectural inspiration, I can choose to say no to certain types of projects as fortunately I have enough money at this point to not worry about having to take on anything and everything that comes my way (mainly due to the fact that I never bought a house while I was employed, so have the deposit sitting in my bank account!)

Recently I bought a new car. After arriving on site for the last two years in my girlfriend’s 2003 Daewoo Kalos with dinted and scratched panels, I felt it had to be done. The poor old Daewoo was on its last legs anyway … When I told my mum that I’d just spent $20,000 on a two-year-old VW Tiguan she initially thought this was ridiculous – ‘More money than I’ve ever spent on a car and I’m 60!’. So I explained how it felt having potential clients size you up on arrival in a crappy old car. She also thought this was ridiculous – ‘You don’t want the type of clients who judge you on a car…?!’ But this is sometimes the reality, and I think it is money well spent. If you’re effectively in charge of how your client will spend their hundreds of thousands of dollars – for some, the biggest single investment they will ever make – then you want to be seen as a reasonable, diligent, professional person. Call it class-ism, call it what you like, you don’t want to be rocking up to site in a beat-up old Daewoo Kalos.

My girlfriend often comments that it is a privilege to be an architect (or an artist, or a musician, or any such creative field). And indeed it is. But the assumption that one has to be comfortable, wealthy, rich, or at the very least privileged in order to ‘indulge’ in a career such as architecture is very problematic. Yet sadly it isn’t hard to see how this can occur. To me it feels like it is increasingly becoming difficult for kids of a more humble, ‘working-class’ background to attend university, often having to move from a rural or outer suburban area to a big expensive city such as Melbourne or Sydney to study. That, combined with the many years of study, costs of living, and general lack of resources, probably makes it incredibly difficult to ‘indulge’ in the fantasy of studying architecture, or some other creative discipline. The ongoing Americanisation of the tertiary sector and the proposed deregulation of university fees, in my view, can only have an increased detrimental impact.

I often guest crit at Melbourne’s architecture schools and it is evident that the pool of students is becoming increasingly narrow. Yes, there are many international students (which is a good thing), but they are mostly from wealthy Asian backgrounds, which makes sense because they are the only ones who can afford to send their children here. In addition to this, the commodification of Australian tertiary education – the package deal: pass your university degree, gain PR, parents can now buy real estate to support your next project – seems an incredibly short-sighted thing for our universities, for the students, and for our education system.

The vast majority of architectural discourse has, for as long as I can remember, been so incredibly elitist that, frankly, it probably alienates many who may have longed to study architecture. It simply beats the desire out of them. I feel our institutions, and the industry more broadly, suffers because of this. Imagine the amazing contributions that could be made to our built environment if the architecture industry was much broader? I remember reading an article some time ago that mentioned how few indigenous architects there were practising in Australia. At the time I think it was two – now, I believe there are around ten. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge that just this one small demographic could add to our architecture schools, our understanding of Australian history, the landscape, and architectural culture in general.

A number of years ago I attended a wedding at a vineyard in the Mornington Peninsula and, in order to sample some of the local wines, I car-pooled there and back with some friends of the bride and groom who I’d never met before. I recall the bloke – a middle-aged factory worker – asking on the return journey what I did for a crust. When I replied that I was studying architecture, his response astonished me –

‘Oh yeah? I’ve never actually understood what architects actually do …’
I mumbled something in reply: ‘Oh well, I design buildings and stuff …’ I was a bit drunk and didn’t really want to engage in a discussion about the merits of architecture on the way home.
‘Yeah, but … I mean, all houses are pretty much the same … ya might have an extra bedroom or two, and the layout might be a bit different, but they’re all pretty much the same. So, what is it you guys actually do?’
Oh shit, I thought. ‘Well, I don’t actually design houses at the moment. I mostly work on university and public buildings …’
Coming to my senses a little bit ‘ … And what about people who live in apartments, aren’t their houses different to the ones you’re talking about?’
‘Yeah I guess so … hadn’t thought about that!’ he responded.

And on it went for a bit, until it was clear the conversation had passed the point of no return and I’d managed to divert it on to something much more innocuous, like how great the wedding band was. I felt unnerved. I wasn’t equipped at that point to defend the profession, as a mere student, on the way back from a wedding after a few too many reds, to this guy who ultimately couldn’t have cared less. But this conversation has stayed with me for years. I think what struck me so much is the extent to which we have marginalised ourselves as a profession by our exclusivity. We often only do projects for the wealthy, so much so that this guy, a pretty ordinary working-to-middle-class Australian, actually didn’t understand what we do, and couldn’t have cared less. It mattered so little to his life (in his eyes).

The sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Pierre Bourdieu argues in his book, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, that class fractions are determined by a combination of the varying degrees of social, economic and cultural capital. Bourdieu argues that, in the main, people inherit their cultural attitudes, the accepted ‘definitions that their elders offer them’. According to Bourdieu, tastes in food, culture and presentation are indicators of class because trends in their consumption seemingly correlate with an individual’s fit in society. Each fraction of the dominant class develops its own aesthetic criteria. A multitude of consumer interests based on differing social positions necessitates that each fraction ‘has its own artists and philosophers, newspapers and critics, just as it has its hairdresser, interior decorator, or tailor.’ ‘[Taste] functions as a sort of social orientation, a “sense of one’s place”, guiding the occupants of a given … social space towards the social positions adjusted to their properties, and towards the practices or goods which befit the occupants of that position.’ Thus, different modes of acquisition yield differences in the nature of preferences.2

Perhaps we architects are not engaged to work on the 97% of houses that are built without an architect, because we tend to come from the 3% who do engage architects. Perhaps the public (and the profession) would be better served by actively engaging with this issue, rather than pretending that class plays no role. Perhaps as Australian architects we should look at ourselves rather than blaming everybody else for the marginalisation of work (and it is marginal when you talk about only actively engaging with approximately 3% of the housing stock.) Blaming drafties, builders, developers, legislative or planning constraints, the reduced fees, the urban sprawl and the lack of infrastructure in our outer urban areas, will not help us address the oft-complained-about erosion of our profession.

We rarely acknowledge the extent to which personal connections support the careers of some architects. I recall reading a quote where, having won a business award, a young architect said something along the lines of ‘Anybody could do what we have done. You just need to be good at what you do, and work really hard.’ I agree that talent and hard work matter, but luck and circumstance also come into play – connections enable opportunities in which talent, hard work and initiative can flourish. Acknowledging this does not lesson the talent of the individual, but it does help us to understand the structural circumstances that we operate in, and to engage with them strategically.

Tim Winton finishes his essay ‘The C-Word’ by saying, ‘I have no illusions about overcoming class distinctions completely. Nor am I discounting the role that character plays in an individual’s fortunes.’

I too am firmly of the opinion that class distinctions can be partially addressed on an individual level, as can any limitation or issue of equality, whether it’s sex, race or religion. Of course, none of us choose our family background, and good (and bad) luck plays a massive role in anyone’s career. The bigger structural issues, however, are harder to overcome. But it is helpful to reflect upon how class impacts architecture, rather than simply brush it aside and argue that we live in an egalitarian society, a meritocracy where hard work and creative initiative will prevail.

Perhaps class is so under-discussed because there’s no clear fix. It’s not simply a case of eradicating bias, like so many of the other issues facing architecture (although these too are proving to be harder than one would hope). I don’t purport to have any answers to the issue, but I do hope that this article in some small way contributes to the start of a discussion.

Sam Perversi-Brooks is a Melbourne-based architect.


  1.   Class in Australia series, The Conversation, (Accessed 3 July 2016) and Tim Winton, ‘Some thoughts about class in Australia – The C Word’, The Monthly Essays, Dec 13–Jan 14, 2013 (Accessed 3 July 2016).
  2.  Pierre Bourdieu Wikipedia. Bourdieu’s theory of class distinction. (Accessed 3 July 2016).

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Who’s afraid of ethnic diversity? Thu, 14 Jul 2016 07:35:53 +0000 Sonia Sarangi continues the conversation about ethnic diversity, pointing to the well-documented advantages of the profession better reflecting the community.

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 Sonia Sarangi continues the conversation about ethnic diversity – asking what is going on and pointing to the well-documented advantages of the profession better reflecting the community.


Finally. Somebody has let the cat out of the bag.

Yvonne Meng’s about the lack of ethnic diversity in architecture starts the conversation that we, as a profession, need to have out in the open. To date, these issues have only been whispered about behind closed doors by those affected by them. Public conversations have the power to remove stigma and build momentum towards change. Parlour has made huge strides for gender equity in a short span of time by facilitating such conversations among us all.

Is the glass ceiling real?

Yvonne has touched on a few aspects that I would like to expand upon briefly. Early in her piece she asks, ‘Is the glass ceiling real?’ My perception is that it is. I hope that future research can reveal the statistics around the attrition in ethnic diversity. For the moment, in the absence of such data, I would like to posit that the erosion in ethnic diversity starts as soon as architecture school ends.

The student cohort across Victorian schools of architecture is incredibly diverse ethnically. However, on entering the profession, graduates may encounter unconscious bias in hiring. Let’s not pretend this doesn’t exist. I recall when applying for jobs as a graduate being relieved that my first name wasn’t ‘too ethnic’. What a terrible thought to have! And yet research supported by ANU backs up those worries. A particularly sobering excerpt reads:

To get as many interviews as an Anglo applicant with an Anglo-sounding name, an Indigenous person must submit 35 per cent more applications, a Chinese person must submit 68 per cent more applications, an Italian person must submit 12 per cent more applications, and a Middle Eastern person 64 per cent more applications.

– Alison Booth, Public Policy Fellow, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. 1.

Architectural practices often use very informal approaches to finding, interviewing and hiring staff. This has its advantages, but also means that unconscious bias can flourish. Addressing this requires awareness and active procedures. For example, the Victorian government has recently begun taking active steps to redress unconscious bias in their hiring practices by removing key personal information to help ensure that hiring is based on candidate skills alone.2

Some will reply with the old chestnut of being unable to ‘sponsor’ architectural graduates. This is not correct. Recent changes in immigration rules have made it possible for international student graduates of architecture to work within Australia for 18 months to two years under the Temporary Graduate Visa.3 That is a fairly long stint and does not require sponsorship from an employer, as the applicants bear their own costs.

Obstacles to progression

Next comes the succession hurdle. Why is the ethnic diversity I have witnessed at the APE examination not reflected in the upper levels of the profession? What happens to those bright, optimistic young souls on their way up the career ladder? Why are they are so visibly absent from mid-career positions such as associate directors or other senior roles? My own experience offers some clues.

Over the course of my career I have occasionally been made to feel that my ideas were ‘too different’ or ‘not how we do things’ – or I’ve been told ‘the client probably won’t like it’. When this sentiment was proved resoundingly wrong, it was put down to sheer luck. More damaging was the insinuation that certain clients, teams or consultants would not be able to ‘connect’ with me, and that I was better off letting someone else do the talking/presenting. Such insidious comments are devastating. When internalised, such messages can mean that perfectly qualified candidates will not put their hand up for succession. Or people wait patiently for a more senior role to be offered, only to leave in disgust when it does not materialise due to long-held attitudes in senior management. Then there is the casual racism of some workplaces that kills one’s confidence through death-by-a-thousand-cuts.

Money talks

Common sense suggests that you promote those who are an asset to your organisation. Where sense fails, dollars and cents can do the talking. A recent report by global strategy firm McKinsey & Co shows what ethnic diversity can add to the bottom line of businesses.4 In particular, I was gobsmacked by the following chart:

Chart from Why Diversity Matters, McKinsey and Co.

Diversity’s dividend, from Why Diversity Matters, McKinsey & Co.

So, the reward of ethnic diversity isn’t simply feel-good warmth. It pays. Surely any businessperson can see the sense in increasing their bottom line compared to their peers. How does this work? The report explains:

… the correlation does indicate that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful. More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.

– Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton & Sara Prince, co-authors Diversity Matters4

And for those tempted to argue that international findings aren’t really applicable to Australian shores, here’s a more familiar voice chiming in on the issue:

“I can say categorically that we wouldn’t have gotten through the transformation and the tough times of this business as well as we did without having that diversity in the top leadership team. At the end of the day, it makes you a better business.”

Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Airways.5

Reflecting the community

It’s important to point out that architecture isn’t the only Australian business sector going through tough times. If our profession were better able to embrace ethnic diversity (an image that Australia successfully projects internationally), would the profession be in better shape?

If the profession is overwhelmingly dominated by a narrow demographic, are we also discouraging the wider demographic that is modern Australia from engaging us, because they cannot see the community’s diversity reflected in its architects?

I hope that starting to have this important conversation will lead us all to look for the answers to these questions.

Vive la difference

If you are reading this as a person of an ethnic background, don’t think that being different is all doom-and-gloom. I recently had a chance meeting with Julie Eizenberg at the National Conference in Adelaide, which has absolutely fired me up with optimism. I shared with her how I had hesitated to answer a question she put to the audience because I felt like an ‘outsider’ within the wider profession. Her response will be carved in my memory forever:

“Never let that thought hold you back. Being an ‘outsider’ is fantastic. It gives you the strength to question, to challenge the status quo and to rise above the fray and see things from a different viewpoint. It’s the best thing ever!!”

–Julie Eizenberg

A diverse profession isn’t a handicap; it’s an asset that we need to tap into.

  1. Alison Booth, ‘Job hunt success is all in a name’, The Canberra Times, 4 March, 2013 (accessed 22 June 2016)
  2. M Perkins, ‘Victorian government trials blind job applications to overcome hiring bias’, The Age, 20 May, 2016 (accessed 22 June 2016).
  3. Architecture is included in the Skilled Occupation List, Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (accessed 22 June 2016).
  4. V Hunt, D Layton and S Prince, ‘Why diversity matters’, McKinsey & Company (January 2015), (accessed 22 June 2016).
  5. K Hope, ‘Why it’s important to be yourself at work’, BBC News, 21 June 2016 (accessed 22 June 2016)/

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Women in Architecture: Kirsten Orr Wed, 13 Jul 2016 03:34:10 +0000 Meet Professor Kirsten Orr, Head of School of Architecture & Design at the University of Tasmania.

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Meet Professor Kirsten Orr, Head of School of Architecture & Design, University of Tasmania. Kirsten was interviewed by Michael Smith and is the latest profile in our series of impressive Australian women in architecture.
Photo: Ben Wild

Photo: Ben Wild.

Dr Kirsten Orr is an academic and registered architect (TAS & NSW) with extensive practice experience. Prior to joining the University of Tasmania in March 2016, she was Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney (1996–2015). Her research and teaching balance traditional academic research with contemporary practice-based investigation and are underpinned by a deep interest in Australian architecture and material culture.

What do you enjoy most in the practice of architecture?

I am passionate about educating the next generation of architects and my teaching seeks to strengthen the practice-based research skills and innovative mindsets that will enable my students to keep pace with, and push the boundaries of, architectural practice into the future. I regularly integrate prototyping activities into my teaching to stimulate student creativity and foster an effective learning environment by mediating between the virtual world of the computer screen and design principles, materials, fabrication processes and construction techniques. This is enhanced by research-led teaching partnerships with industry and ‘live’ projects for community organisations. My innovative teaching approaches were recognised in 2011 when I was awarded a competitive Teaching and Learning Citation by the University of Technology Sydney.

Can you tell us about a key project that you have been involved in?

A long-term student project for Ku-ring-gai Council from 2009–2013 culminated in the construction of a precast concrete park structure to the students’ design at Greengate Park in Killara, Sydney. It was awarded the 2014 Parks and Leisure Australia Award for Open Space Development (NSW). The project involved partnerships with industrial fabricators and structural engineers, including Make Good Pty Ltd, a fabricator with a 5-axis CNC milling machine suitable for architectural applications; Warringah Plastics, a fabricator with 5-axis CNC milling and vacuum forming equipment; and Partridge, structural engineers. Along the way, numerous prototypes were constructed at half- and full-scale exploring different CNC processes and innovative materials. One prototype was a shell of folded ‘Alucobond’ composite panels on a high-tech timber structure, and another comprised mass-customised vacuum-formed plastic panels for a roof canopy. An article on this project is due to be published in the Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching in 2016.

In 2015, I established a new partnership with Austral Bricks in a Master of Architecture design studio that spanned theoretical and practical work to explore the tectonic potentials of clay brick, one of the most ubiquitous materials in suburban Australia. In particular, it investigated new ways of assembling and detailing brick, emphasising the experimental and the applied, and endeavouring to understand the complex relationships between ideas of craft, workmanship, play, discovery and innovation as they apply to a real architectural project. Students produced a series of experimental brick assemblages to establish their own individual material languages, which were then applied in designs for a park amenities block at North Turramurra Recreation Area in a live project for Ku-ring-gai Council. The studio questioned the status of brick in local government architecture and the emerging practices and innovative architectural approaches that may lead to its redeployment. While the utilitarian amenities block typology typically falls outside the ‘architectural canon’, this investigation is nevertheless important to sustaining, enhancing and innovating municipal architecture in an era of extensive redevelopment.

Collaborations such as these enrich student learning by emulating architectural practice and integrating all strands of disciplinary knowledge. They also have the potential to introduce new synergies and mindsets within the architectural profession and construction industry.

Students at Austral Bricks, 2015. Photo: Kirsten Orr

Students at Austral Bricks, 2015. Photo: Kirsten Orr.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a woman in architecture and how did you overcome it?

In 2006, there was a fundamental shift in the ethos of the Architecture program at the University of Technology Sydney, when it moved from being a practice-based, part-time course to becoming a full-time course. This demanded the reimagining of what an architectural education at a university of ‘technology’ could be. I embraced the opportunity to take the UTS curriculum in new directions and embarked on a tour of Asia and Europe to benchmark best international teaching practice in both Architectural Design and Architectural Technology. Among other places, I visited the National University of Singapore, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture – Paris Malaquais, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. What I saw had an enormous impact and shaped my new approaches to learning and teaching, including the introduction of prototyping activities integrating parametric design technologies (Rhinoceros© with Grasshopper© plug-in) and computer numerically controlled fabrication technologies. I haven’t looked back.

What are you looking forward to in your career?

I am looking forward to bringing my diverse range of skills and experiences derived from academia and architectural practice to bear on my new role at the University of Tasmania as the Head of School of Architecture & Design. After twenty years at the University of Technology Sydney, this will be an exciting and challenging new chapter in my career. In particular, I am looking forward to building upon the School’s existing strengths in learning-by-making and community projects to realise the full potential of its nationally distinct workshop facilities and state-of-the-art equipment.

What do you see as your core strength in the practice of architecture?

As a registered architect who also has a PhD, I am able to bring unique perspectives that straddle the demands of the architecture profession and the Australian university context. My comprehensive understanding of the complex interrelationships between the university sector, the architectural profession and the workings of State and Federal Government allow me to provide substantial professional leadership and I have held appointments to all of the major Australian government and professional bodies regulating the practice of architecture, the education of architecture students, and the accreditation of Australian architecture programs. I am currently:

  • Chair, National Education Committee, Australian Institute of Architects
  • Chair, Australian Architectural Education and Competency Framework Project, a joint project of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA), the Institute, the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia (AASA) and the Australian Deans of Built Environment & Design (ADBED)
  • Executive Member and Incoming President, Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia (AASA
  • Member, National Panel to review the Australia and New Zealand Accreditation Procedure (ANZ APAP), a joint project of the AACA and Institute
  • Member, 2016 Awards Jury for the Tasmanian Chapter Architecture Awards, Australian Institute of Architects


Kirsten Orr was interviewed by Michael Smith from Atelier Red+Black. This profile is co-published with the Australian Institute of Architects.

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Women in Architecture: Daphne Cheong Wed, 13 Jul 2016 03:27:53 +0000 Be prepared, speak with authority and, above all else, deliver on the project. It's the best way to stymie gender bias on site, says Daphne Cheong.

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Be prepared, speak with authority and, above all else, deliver on the project. It’s the best way to stymie gender bias on site, says Daphne Cheong, project architect at GHD Woodhead and our latest profile in the Women in Architecture series.


As an alumnus of the University of New South Wales, Daphne graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Masters in Architectural Design. After graduation, Daphne spent four years with GHD’s architecture practice, followed by a two and a half year stint with Billard Leece Partnership as a Graduate Architect. In 2014, Daphne became a Registered Architect and later that year returned to GHD Woodhead, where she currently holds the role of Project Architect, responsible for managing multidisciplinary teams.

What do you enjoy most in the practice of architecture?

Every new project brings with it a unique set of challenges, which require innovative solutions. The opportunity to demonstrate my resourcefulness, knowledge and creativity in overcoming such challenges is extremely rewarding.

I have always enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the collaboration and teamwork involved in a big project—that feeling of being part of a group of passionate individuals working towards a shared goal. A successful piece of architecture does not begin and end with the architect, but rather the collaborative efforts of the architect, consultants, clients and stakeholders.

Can you tell us about a key project that you have been involved in?

During my time at GHD Woodhead, I have worked on a number of major projects such as the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) workplace in Parramatta and a number of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) projects.

RMS is revitalising its office accommodation across the state in line with its vision to be the leader in the management and delivery of safe, efficient and high-quality services and infrastructure to NSW. RMS is seeking to attract and retain high-quality staff who are agile and collaborative. In line with this strategy, office accommodation is changing to support an Activity Based Workforce (ABW). The floor planning comprises neighbourhoods of varied work settings, enclosed meeting rooms, semi-enclosed collaborative areas, quiet nooks and open plazas, with each of the nine floors having its own feeling with the use of colour and geometry.

RMS Parramatta workplace. Photos: Intrec Intrec_RMS_Para_01-med-685x457
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a woman in architecture and how did you overcome it?

I am delighted to say that wherever I have worked there has always been a professional respect for women, and I have had the privilege of working with some highly accomplished women in senior positions.

Where I have experienced challenges as a woman in architecture is when dealing with external consultants. It is not unusual to attend site meetings, only to find myself marginalised in favour of a male counterpart when discussing a project.

My approach in dealing with such situations is to be thoroughly prepared, speak with the authority that comes from my knowledge and experience and, above all else, deliver on the project.

Who do you look up to in the architecture profession?

Allan Miller is the principal architect at GHD Woodhead, with 35 years of industry experience under his belt. Whilst his architectural knowledge is profound, it is his willingness to share this knowledge that I find inspiring. Allan’s generosity and patience with all his colleagues are traits I hope to emulate as I progress in my career.

Elena Bullo, GHD Woodhead’s architectural team leader, is another individual I look up to for her integrity and resilience. She seamlessly balances her professional responsibilities with her role as a devoted mother.

Tara Veldman, director at Billard Leece Partnership, is an exemplary professional recognised as an industry leader in healthcare design. Working with Tara served as a constant motivation to push me professionally, a reminder that what you achieve in the industry is limited only by your ambition and dedication to the job.

Intrec_RMS_Para_38_merged-med-685x839 Intrec_RMS_Para_16-med-685x457
What are you looking forward to in your career?

Having eight years of professional experience and having recently registered as an architect, I feel I am now finding my place in the industry. GHD Woodhead has supported my development through career resiliency training, which has helped me zone in on what motivates me professionally. Acting as a technical sounding board for the junior members in the practice is a role I have found extremely rewarding. I see myself thriving in a managerial role within the team and aspire to be an inspirational leader. A lofty aspiration but one I believe can be achieved through a combination of self-initiative and continual learning on the job.


Daphne Cheong was interviewed by Michael Smith from Atelier Red+Black. This profile is part of the Women in Architecture series co-published with the Australian Institute of Architects.

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EOFY resolutions – fair and equitable pay for all Mon, 04 Jul 2016 06:18:11 +0000 Leone Lorrimer offers a series of resolutions to help ensure that architectural practices have fair and equitable remuneration, and a set of resources to support them.

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Leone Lorrimer offers a series of resolutions to help ensure that architectural practices provide fair and equitable remuneration, and a set of resources to support them. This is part of a call from the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Committee for Gender Equity, which asks all architectural firms to take the initiative and review and reform their remuneration policies this end of financial year.


People are at the heart of good design. It makes perfect sense that we treat our people fairly, in terms of what we pay them and how we behave towards them. Paying employees fairly is good business. Being equitably compensated makes employees feel valued, making for a happier, more productive workplace with higher employee retention.

As an employer, it can be difficult to understand one’s legal obligations around remuneration, and more so – what is fair. As the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gender Equity Policy points out, many instances of workplace inequality are unintentional and often unnoticed, but it’s not news that the accumulation of these acts has adverse effects on our industry.

The greater portion of architectural practice occurs in small firms that do not have expertise in human resources management. However, these practices can access support from a range of organisations, including the Institute of Architects HR+ service, which is available to A+ members, and the Association of Consulting Architects’ advisory service and Business Toolbox, which includes a range of salary resources.

Being accountable for our own ethical and equitable employee practices is the only way to help our industry become more inclusive and sustainable. For the betterment of yourself, your employees and your colleagues, please join us in making the following remuneration resolutions.

Resolution 1: Pay Employees According to the Law

The Fair Work Ombudsman sets the Minimum Wage and the pay rates contained in Modern Awards. Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the Architects Award 2010 sets out minimum wages for Students, Graduates of Architecture and Registered Architects. The progression from Graduate to Registered Architect and beyond is clearly set out and addresses annual reviews, target setting, training and prescribed competencies. The Act also sets ordinary hours and regulates payment for overtime and a casual loading. Other types of roles, such as clerical/administrative roles are covered by the Modern Award relevant to the role. All awards, along with the National Employment Standards are freely available on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

The Superannuation Guarantee Levy is also federally legislated. Superannuation information can be found on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 requires all non-public sector employers with over 100 employees to report annually and offers advice and assistance to employers (including small practices) about improving gender equity in their workplace.

The Government, through Centrelink pays (means-tested) parental leave for primary caregivers (currently 18 weeks paid at the minimum wage) and secondary caregivers (currently 2 weeks paid at the minimum level). In addition, some companies have Paid Parental Leave policies, providing return to work incentives.

Resolution 2: Pay Employees Fairly

For employees remunerated at levels above those regulated by the minimum wage, some of the recruitment agencies conduct annual benchmark surveys relevant to the profession. These provide a guide to market levels of remuneration across a broad range of roles.

Good HR practice includes establishing clear organisational structures, role descriptions and articulation of career progression to every employee. Regular review and feedback to individuals is essential. Employees should be reviewed against development targets and each other and remuneration corrected for parity internally, and against external markets. Internal parity takes into account the size of the role, accountability, effectiveness, potential and possible gender bias. Any imbalances should be corrected by adjustment of remuneration and/or role.

The Australian Institute of Architects provides A+ members with a range of HR services, together with a range of resources that include strategies, templates, policies and ‘everything you’ll need to deal with IR and ensure employee legal compliance’. The Association of Consulting Architects also provides model employment agreements, HR policy templates and other resources.

Parlour has published a series of world-class Guides to Equitable Practice. These include:

Parlour Guide 2 – Long Hours addresses why the persistent long hours is damaging to individual architects, to businesses and to the viability of the profession.

Parlour Guide 6 – Career Progression provides guidance on how to promote equitably, conduct effective performance reviews and set transparent criteria for success. For employees the guides assist you to plan your career and articulate your skills.

Resolution 3: Pay Employees Equitably

The Gender Pay Gap is one of the biggest problems our industry is currently facing and is a major contributor to our inability to retain women in the profession. Parlour Guide 1 – Pay Equity addresses how to close the Gender Pay Gap. It explains why pay equity is good for business and why persistent pay inequity can have a big negative impact on the morale, commitment and productivity of employees.

Do an annual Pay Equity Audit. What better time than at the end of the Financial Year? The Parlour Guide takes you through a simple step by step process. Make sure that you factor in all types of payments, including bonuses and benefits. Reward output and productivity, not just visibility and volume. Treat full-time, flexible and part-time employees equally.

Resolution 4: If You Are an Employee

Parlour Guide 1 – Pay Equity outlines some great tips for employees as well:

  • Do your homework: know your rights
  • Check out potential employers
  • Keep track of your own performance and development
  • Learn to negotiate effectively
  • Step up and be visible
  • Look for opportunities
Facts and Figures

Minimum Annual Wages from 1 July 2016

Level 1 Student of Architecture $35,093 – 45,335
Level 1 Graduate of Architecture $47,721 – 52,765
Level 2(a) Experienced Graduate of Architecture $55,171
Level 2(b) Registered Architect $55,171 – $58,585

Minimum Weekly Wage for Award / agreement free employees from 1 July 2016 is $672.70 per week or $17.70 per hour.

Casual loading is 25% (paid in addition to the minimum hourly rate).

Superannuation Guarantee Levy is 9.5%.

Additionally, benchmarking for wages can be sourced from employment agencies such as Bespoke, Hudson, and Hays to name a few of the larger organisations who both publish information on salaries.

Salary guides

Members of the Association of Consulting Architects also have access to the annual ACA National Salary Survey report.


Leone Lorrimer is CEO of dwp|suters and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects National Committee for Gender Equity. This article is republished with permission from the Australian Institute of Architects website

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Women in Architecture: BKA Architecture Mon, 04 Jul 2016 05:39:05 +0000 Lee Hillam profiles BKA Architecture, a firm with an impressive approach to equitable employment, and explores the benefits of a flexible, part-time and gender-equitable workforce.

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Lee Hillam profiles BKA Architecture, a Sydney-based firm with an impressive approach to equitable employment, and explores the benefits of a flexible, part-time and gender-equitable workforce.


This Women in Architecture profile takes a different approach to the other articles in the series, which focus on individuals. Here we interviewed the directors of BKA Architecture, John Baker and John Kavanagh, plus the firm’s associates. Although the two directors at BKA are male, five of the seven associates and half of the whole practice are women. The five associates all have children (most of them quite young) and all but one work part-time. These are numbers not typical of our industry, and especially not in such senior positions.

After the large group interview, we spoke with a smaller group of female associates: Najla Khoury, Silvina Medel and Bruna Souto (two other associates, Allison Burrows and Tanya Awadallah, could not attend the meeting). Najla, Silvina and Bruna spoke of the challenges women in architecture face, and the enormous benefits that workplace flexibility can bring to both individuals and architectural practice.

We asked the directors and associates about BKA’s remarkable representation of women at the senior level. How did this come about? Have the directors employed heavy-handed positive discrimination to achieve this?

As it turned out, the directors were largely unaware that their practice looked different to others. Once it became clear that they were inadvertently leading the way, they looked more closely at the conditions that have made it so. John K said it comes from a long-standing practice of hiring students from UTS who had until recently completed their degrees under an apprenticeship model where they were employed in an office four days a week and attended university two nights and one full day. This set up a pattern of people working part time and being flexible to accommodate demands outside the office. So, when those students became graduates and stayed on at BKA, the part-time and flexible work pattern was already set. John K says, ‘I did it. I worked part time when my kids were young. So I know it can be done.’

It seems clear that these two men have directed their practice in a way that is blind to gender. When asked how they came to have so many women as associates, they say, ‘Well, it’s just merit-based. It’s not really deliberate.’

So, have there have been any issues from clients when they are presented with a part-time female project leader?

John Baker shrugs and looks to John Kavanagh, who also shrugs. No, seems to be the short answer. John B notes that really, all their clients care about is that the job is done well. Somewhere in the conversation it also becomes clear that they have a lot of long-standing clients and consultants. Whatever it is they’re doing, it’s working.

So, what are their tips for managing a flexible and part-time workforce?
  • Try to arrange it so that employees have non-consecutive days off. If you work at BKA three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday works best. That way, there’s never more than a day’s delay in responding to a client.
  • Pair up staff so that someone working on the project is always in the office. Then, if the client desperately needs an answer to a question today, there is someone who knows the project.
  • CC the directors on every email. That way, they will be up to speed on the project and be able to step in if no-one else is available.
When talking to the three women associates we start the conversation by quoting Melinda Dodson’s Women in Architecture profile in which she suggested that clients still underestimate women in architecture. Does this resonate with the women of BKA?
Bruna Souto Silvina Medel Najla Khoury

It does. The clients underestimate them, and the consultants they work with tend to underestimate them, too. All this is met with patience.

Najla: They treat you as if you don’t know how to read their drawings, or don’t understand the concept of structural or stormwater drawings or whatever. But then, when you point out their mistakes, they can see, oh that’s right … Slowly they start to have equal respect for you as the architect.

Bruna: It’s important not to take it personally, that’s my attitude. I just trust my skills, and in two or three weeks the relationship starts to change.

Staff turnover at BKA is remarkably low. The associates we spoke to had been at BKA between nine and 16 years. Surely the availability of flexible and part-time work was a factor?

They all agree, though clearly they enjoy the work as well.

Bruna: Because that makes the whole work experience enjoyable.

Silvina: I didn’t think I’d be back after having my children and moving to Bangalow [in northern NSW], but slowly it’s grown and now we have a studio there.

Bruna: I was here before I became a mum, and once I was a mum I didn’t feel I wanted fewer opportunities because of that – and they didn’t treat me like that. It was the opposite.

The women associates are allocated projects as big or bigger than they feel they can handle, and are supported by the directors in those roles. In some ways, it seems the role of managing a project is well suited to part-time work. Directing others in the production of drawings and documents, managing consultants and liaising with clients are all tasks that can be tackled in smaller parcels of time, unlike the continuity of attention that is required for documenting a project, for example.

Bruna: It’s important to know that if you need to work three days you can, and you just go talk to the directors and it’s always OK, somehow.

The conversation then turns to working overtime and the expectation that everyone does what needs to be done to complete the job.

Though everyone at BKA does seem to work more hours than they’re strictly paid for, it is done with the understanding that there’s also significant flexibility to take off time when needed. If the associates are working from home because of a sick child, or come in late because of a dentist appointment, the directors do not question it. There is a genuine relationship of trust between the directors and the staff, and that trust is also felt by the clients, who see the directors backing their associate architects.

Najla: ‘They give full ownership and you feel the ownership. You are responsible for these projects.’

Bruna: If I have to take time off to go to an appointment I know how much overtime I’ve done, so I can do that. They would never say that you can’t take your child to the doctor or whatever.’

But surely it’s not all perfect? Where have the challenges been?

The group listed challenges such as rebuilding confidence after parental leave, managing school holidays and the cost of child care – all factors that relate to having children, and can impact on men and women in equal measure.

It seems that in the drive towards gender equity, an industry’s approach to accommodating the demands of parenting is always going to be a pivotal issue. It’s noteworthy that at BKA – where priority is given to the skill and talent of the architect, and gender and parental status are kept separate – it is possible and even advantageous to have a flexible, part-time and gender-equitable workforce.


Lee Hillam is the Chair of the National Committee for Gender Equity (NCGE) and a director of Sydney-based Dunn & Hillam Architects. She interviewed the directors and associates of BKA Architecture for the ‘Women in Architecture‘ series, co-published with the Australian Institute of Architects.

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Fairer fees to future-proof the profession Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:45:02 +0000 Under-valuing the core business of design is not the path to a sustainable industry. At the recent Victorian architecture awards, Vanessa Bird beseeches architects to value themselves and their work, and to set fees accordingly. The future of the profession will depend upon it.

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Under-valuing the core business of design is not the path to a sustainable industry. At the recent Victorian Architecture Awards, Chapter President Vanessa Bird beseeched architects to value themselves and their work, and to calculate fees accordingly. The future of the profession depends upon it.


Welcome to the 2016 Awards. With a room full of recognised leaders of the profession, rubbing shoulders with our future leaders, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on a critical issue facing the future of the profession – remuneration, or fees.

When I opened the Awards exhibition two weeks ago I was struck by the exceptional quality of the work given the current fee climate. It is astonishing that while fees are driven down, architects continually find ways to do good work. We are resilient, but this is not limitless. Expectations for ever-higher levels of service for the same fee can’t continue.

Fee pressure is applied at both ends of the process. First, at the front end, there’s pressure to provide concept design for free; and second, at the delivery end, there’s pressure to do more for less.

I encourage you all to value your skills more highly. Put a decent value on your intellectual property, and don’t sell yourself short.

Why are we giving it away?

Architects will always need to compete for work, but cut-price design fees or no design fees sends the wrong value message. This doesn’t create a future for our up-and-coming practices – or acknowledge the value of design. Concept design is not a loss leader. It is our most precious commodity. The contributions you see here tonight are undeniably excellent and involve significant expertise, developed over time. How can we expect clients and the market to value our expertise if the message we give is that we don’t value it ourselves? Your intellectual property has value – in some cases, it’s worth millions of dollars in uplift to developers or real-estate agents, and in other cases, it changes people’s lives. You shouldn’t be giving this away for free.

We all start with a blank piece of paper and until we provide a creative solution on that piece of paper, the entire project team – consultants, advisors and managers – remain at a standstill. This is where our core value lies. Our intellectual property is our most important asset.

All businesses decide what they will and won’t give away to attract clients. However, if you give away your best content for nothing, what possible reason could anyone have to pay for content that is less valuable? If you offer up the farm, or what is truly your most valuable content for free, you are bound to get resistance – or disappointment – on the services you try to sell.

Of course, architects can do ‘pro bono’ work – but a profitable business structure is needed to support this. Value your work, and then make real donations through not-for-profit organisations, community groups, or Architects Without Frontiers, all of which contribute to society in special ways.

Doing more for less

Architects are doing more for less. And in this case, less is not more, it’s just less. The downward pressure on fees during the GFC created a market accustomed to higher delivery expectations. Business costs, such as insurance and software, have increased – while fees decline. This isn’t because there is a shortage of money in the industry. It just isn’t distributed our way. Tonight you see quality isn’t appearing to suffer – so externally the system seems fine. This is because architects are generous and do more than the fee allows – but under-pricing is not the way forward. For the sake of the future of the profession, change is required.

So why does this matter?

Inadequate fees mean we can’t pay our staff the wages they deserve. It’s then hard to attract and keep the best and brightest students. Architecture is complex and we need good young minds coming through, who are not having to worry about the prospect of poor wages or long hours of unpaid work. We need to be paid for the services we provide, so we can pay our staff properly.

How do we return the balance and recapture our value? And what is the Institute doing about it?

First, we need to take more control of project delivery. One piece of the Institute’s advocacy work is the push for mandatory registration of project managers to help claim back some of our traditional territory and lost ground. This process has begun. The opportunity for architects is to fulfil the registration requirements as project managers themselves, thereby instantly returning scope and lost fees. Or to project manage other architect’s projects professionally and knowledgeably and claim the appropriate fee.

Architects can and do find solutions to complex problems. We can change, we like change, we trade in it. This was proven in May when we voted for the governance changes in our Institute’s Constitution. Think about it – there hasn’t been a successful federal referendum for 40 years, so this demonstrates our ability to change by working together. This is fundamental to the concept of a true profession.

I encourage you all when calculating your costs and fees to think about our long-term viability. It is one thing to live for architecture – it is quite another to die for it.

Architecture is important. We are heading into an election where both major parties are proposing a Minister for Cities. The future of the city, housing and infrastructure are part of the core political debate. We have to advocate for an environment where design is valued. We have to start by giving greater monetary value to design ourselves.

Every year at the Awards we see Victorian architects making significant contributions to the city and its life, to our communities and to the advancement of our discipline. In 2016, we see an exceptionally high standard. You all find great solutions and do profoundly valuable work – don’t under-value it. I do warmly congratulate all the winners here tonight, as well as all those shortlisted for your fabulous contributions to the city.



I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Jon Clements has made during his four years as National and Chapter President in a period of renewal. Thank you to his partners at work and home who have carried the extra load during that time. Thanks to Graham Burrows, Dana Burrows, Tim Jackson, Jane Mackay and Lissa Clements.

The awards program doesn’t happen without a tremendous team effort. Thank you again to our sponsors and participating partners, including the University of Melbourne for hosting the Awards presentations; the Awards Committee, chaired by Amy Muir; and the team at the Australian Institute of Architects, including Alison Cleary and Lucy Spychal, Awards Co-ordinator. Thank you to the 43 jurors and jury chair Hamish Lyon. The peer review process and the site visits make these awards the most valued and this is the reason we’re all here tonight.

The winners of the Victorian Architecture awards can be found here.


Vanessa Bird, FRAIA, is the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter President and co-founder of Bird de la Coeur Architects. She is an experienced juror and is involved with course accreditation for the universities. Vanessa has won awards for group housing and housing for retirees, including the Victorian Coastal Award for Excellence, the State Government’s Highest Award.

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Parlour, Wikipedia and the scholarly community Wed, 29 Jun 2016 03:35:05 +0000 Parlour is delighted to be presenting an information session at GOLD, this year’s SAHANZ conference, followed by a writing workshop open to all. Please join us! Join Parlour and the WikiD team for an information session about how the scholarly community can become more involved in Parlour and WikiD: Women, Wikipedia Design. Or simply come along to the writing workshop to learn how to edit Wikipedia, or get going with writing more women into Wikipedia. When Thursday,  7 July 4.30 pm – information session on Parlour, Wikipedia and the scholarly community 5pm – WikiD writing workshop Where Japanese Room, MSD Building, University of Melbourne BYO laptop. We’ll provide some snacks. What Information session, 4–4.30 pm The first part of the event is an information session aimed at academics, historians and the scholarly community. This will explain how scholars and historians can use the Parlour platform to help disseminate research relating to equity, gender and architecture, and explain more about WikiD: women, Wikipedia, design. There is a real opportunity for the history/theory academics to get involved, both by contributing subject expertise and by incorporating it into teaching and assessment tasks. There is great potential for students and teaching – writing a proper Wikipedia entry is demanding, and provides an excellent […]

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Parlour is delighted to be presenting an information session at GOLD, this year’s SAHANZ conference, followed by a writing workshop open to all. Please join us!

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.07.04 pmJoin Parlour and the WikiD team for an information session about how the scholarly community can become more involved in Parlour and WikiD: Women, Wikipedia Design.

Or simply come along to the writing workshop to learn how to edit Wikipedia, or get going with writing more women into Wikipedia.


Thursday,  7 July

  • 4.30 pm – information session on Parlour, Wikipedia and the scholarly community
  • 5pm – WikiD writing workshop

Japanese Room, MSD Building, University of Melbourne

BYO laptop. We’ll provide some snacks.


Information session, 4–4.30 pm

The first part of the event is an information session aimed at academics, historians and the scholarly community. This will explain how scholars and historians can use the Parlour platform to help disseminate research relating to equity, gender and architecture, and explain more about WikiD: women, Wikipedia, design.

There is a real opportunity for the history/theory academics to get involved, both by contributing subject expertise and by incorporating it into teaching and assessment tasks. There is great potential for students and teaching – writing a proper Wikipedia entry is demanding, and provides an excellent lesson is assembling evidence, making an argument for /notability’ and constructing proper citations. It also has the advantage of students experiencing the reward of making something that goes into the world and changes perceptions of our profession.

Wikipedia writing workshop, 4.30–5.30 pm

Join the Wikipedia editing and writing workshop. For those new to Wikipedia we’ll run through the basics of how to edit.


If you have time, please do a couple of things before coming along:

Find out more about GOLD, the 2016 SAHANZ conference here.

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Wanted: Interior architecture tutors Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:42:16 +0000 Monash University's Interior Architecture program is looking for two architecture/spatial design tutors for teaching Communication in semester two.

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Monash University’s Interior Architecture program is looking for two architecture/spatial design tutors to teach into the Communications unit in semester two at Monash Caulfield Campus.


The positions involve the following:

  • Introducing first years to Rhino, AutoCAD, Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
  • Teaching on Wednesdays and Fridays, commencing in late July.
  • Clever students and generous remuneration.

Monash is ideally looking for experienced tutors, but is open to a duo of talented and confident graduates. Please email your interest and CV/portfolio to:

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