Update from Queensland’s Regional Affairs Committee

Regional architects have always communicated with other regional members ‘virtually’ and from afar, originally using teleconference facilities and then adopting Zoom, well before Covid-19 caused the rest of the profession to embrace these digital technologies to cope with our rapidly changing environment.

Queensland’s Regional Affairs Committee (RAC) is the only such committee in Australia and is made up of the six regional Chairs and Co-Chairs (from Far North Queensland, North Queensland, Central Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Darling Downs), as well as Queensland Chapter Councillors who choose to take an interest in Queensland’s regions. The RAC is led by the Chair of the RAC who, for the past eight years has been Roger Mainwood from Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Advocacy has remained the RAC’s main priority, so events such as the Queensland Regional Awards, Open House (4 out of the 6 regions have held their own Open House events so far), the Regional Conferences, (Spirit of Place 2013 and Evoke 2016 and last year’s Connecting Narratives Symposium 2019) all provide excellent opportunities to share and showcase the unique nature of architecture and design in the regions.

Collaboration and celebration with allied professions, as is promoted in many regional events, also creates stronger regional communities, along with meaningful discourse with other regions who experience similar challenges in providing a healthy exchange of ideas and shared learnings.

Amongst its many significant achievements, the RAC was instrumental in assisting to almost eradicate the practice of Best and Final Offers (BAFO) after identifying many detrimental occurrences in both local and state government departments.

Regional Fellows are a rare breed; regional Life Fellows are even rarer! On Tuesday, 4 August, our the Institute’s National President, Queensland Architect, Alice Hampson (also a champion of architecture in the regions) hosted the second Annual Fellows Lunch. 

Regional fellows who attended include: Leah Lang FRAIA, Gold Coast City Architect, Alan Hayes FRAIA, Director of Hamilton Hayes Henderson Architects, Greg Forgan Smith LFRAIA, Director of Forgan Smith Architects (all practising on the Gold Coast) and Graham Richardson FRAIA, sole practitioner of Graham Richardson Associates, Laurie Jones FRAIA, semi-retired former Brisbane City Council Heritage Architect and Lindy Atkin FRAIA, Co-Director of Bark Architects (all practising on the Sunshine Coast). Missing from this photograph is our Queensland Regional Affairs Committee Chair, Roger Mainwood LFRAIA, who was made a Life Fellow last month.

It would be marvellous to see more regional Fellows and Life Fellows attend next year’s Annual Fellows Lunch and it would be even more wonderful to be able to celebrate more regional architects being awarded the prestigious titles. So, if you are reading this article and know of a worthy regional colleague, please consider nominating them in the near future, so that their application can be assessed and reviewed well in advance of this time next year.

Parlour summarises the process of becoming a Fellow: “To be eligible, you need to have 12 years of corporate membership and have made a significant contribution to the profession. Nominations then go to Chapter Council for ratification. The council looks at the body of work and a contribution to architecture beyond paid work, for example: sitting on awards juries or committees, mentoring, giving talks, working with not-for-profits, engagement with the universities or in your community.”

In the meantime, if you would like to know more about what is being discussed and organised in your region, please contact your local Chair or Co-Chair to be kept up to date with the current issues and to learn how you might be able to contribute to creating stronger regional representation for great architecture in our QLD regions.

Regional Fellows and Life Fellows attending the annual luncheon

Lindy Atkin FRAIA, Sunshine Coast Region

Australian Institute of Architecture QLD Chapter Councillor