From the National President – July 2013


Last month, it was my great privilege to represent the Institute at the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2013 Convention, which was held in Denver, Colorado.

As you might expect, it was an extraordinary experience; 19,000 architects, partners and exhibitors converging on the ‘mile high city’ for three days of seminars, inspiration and networking.

One highlight for me was taking part in the Presidents’ Forum. This was a rare opportunity to engage with presidents of professional bodies from eight other nations, as well as from the AIA, AIA students’ organisation and the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Of course, there were many other highlights: Cameron Sinclair from Architecture for Humanity, for instance, gave a powerful presentation: ‘It’s not just about how we build, it’s about how we leave’, and Colin Powell presented an inspiring closing keynote address on leadership. You can find out more about the event here.

The convention was a great opportunity for me to promote the Institute’s activities. In particular, I was able to speak about our bid to host the 2020 UIA Congress in Melbourne. The response was fantastic. There is already a great deal of interest in and support for our bid.

If successful, the 2020 Melbourne Congress will provide architects with an opportunity to participate in a series of culturally and professionally enriching events and will establish or re-establish contacts with colleagues from different countries. The congress attracts both practising architects and academics, well-known architects, those involved in international relations, architects linked to the construction sector, as well as young professionals and students of architecture.

The formal bid will be presented at the next congress, which is held in August 2014 in Durban. The host city will be decided as congress draws to a close at the UIA General Assembly.

Closer to home, Chapter Awards presentations have taken place around the country this past month. These events serve to remind me what it is that architecture can and does achieve. I am continually inspired and encouraged by the high quality work Australian architects produce. But it’s not over yet – tonight, the WA Architecture Awards are presented in Perth. In the meantime, you can peruse the award winners to date in our new image gallery.


Paul Berkemeier

Back to contents