The Australian Institute of Architects is proud to relaunch the successful community-based program Architects Assist.
In partnership with supporter Taubmans, Architects Assist provides access to communities affected by natural disasters and other adversity with practical guidance and a platform for architecture services.
Architects Assist is a referral service that connects the public with architects who are available to assist in rebuilding their homes at reduced fees or pro bono.
The Institute’s National President Shannon Battisson said the Architects Assist service was established in response to the 2019/2020 “summer of sorrow” bushfires. Since then, the program has provided much-needed guidance to disaster-affected communities.
“The relaunch of Architects Assist with Taubmans is an exciting development for the Institute and our architects who want to give back,” she said. “We are providing critical support to communities affected by natural disasters and other adversities, helping them to rebuild and recover.
In the six months following the black summer bushfires, more than 600 architecture practices provided services to disaster-impacted communities.
This includes the Cobargo RSL Memorial Hall in the Bega Valley, New South Wales, which is being redeveloped with support from the Institute’s Architects Assist program, Dickson Rothschild Architects, Taubmans and not-for-profit GIVIT, and a grant from the Australian Government Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Program.
Dickson Rothschild Architects founder and managing director Nigel Dickson said the pro bono work was part of a broader ethos of helping communities generally.
“The best thing we can do is be grounded in community and I use it with intention because it’s about the relationship you have with people and having empathy with the needs of the community,” he said.
“That’s the prime motivator in our work. It’s the hope that you give these people. That’s what drives us.”
As one of the Institute’s major corporate partners, Taubmans has exclusively supported Architects Assist since 2022 and has played a vital role in developing the website and program to better serve Australian communities.
Taubmans Head of Marketing Architectural Australia and New Zealand, Sarah Yap, said the Architects Assist program was an important way to connect Australian communities with architecture expertise and support, which is key to supporting rebuilding projects.
“Being in it together with the community is a big part of what we do at Taubmans,” she said. “Partnering with the Institute on this important program is important to us, and we are proud to support initiatives which give back to our communities by supporting rebuilding and refreshing of living and meeting spaces.”
The relaunched service makes it easier for the public to ‘request assistance’ and for built-environment professionals to ‘give assistance’. It also features stories showcasing how architects are providing long-term support in community recovery efforts.
The Institute encourages its members, including architects and built environment professionals, to be involved in Architects Assist. Additionally, the Institute is developing continuing professional development (CPD) competencies for built-environment professionals to assist with the triaging process for referrals in the event of a disaster.
Taubmans is a proud 125-year-old Australian paint brand supported by global coatings company PPG.
The Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for architecture in Australia representing over 13,000 members globally.
For further information, please contact: Rosanne Barrett on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects.
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