From the National President

8 Jun

This is an unusual year.

I feel very honoured to have been elevated to the role of National President, which provides an important opportunity to represent our members and the profession. At the same time, however, I feel overwhelmed by a deeper sense of responsibility that comes with representing an Institute both steeped in history and in need of progressive reform.

Over the past ten years I have maintained active participation at the Institute with nine years on Chapter Council (including two years in the role of Victorian Chapter President) and three years on National Council. I am still (relatively) young and yet while I am sure that I have not heard it all, I feel like I have heard most of it.

As architects we are all very privileged to represent an extraordinary profession that is uniquely creative and the envy of many; however, at the same time we are also faced with constant challenges emerging within contemporary practice which are clearly testing our resilience.

At the Institute we believe we understand that we need to remain relevant by adapting to change; however, we also need the support of our members to achieve effective and sustainable programs that promote the value of our profession and respond to the expectations of our community. Moving forwards we believe that the success of our organisation will largely depend on our ability to develop a narrower and more focused strategic plan and facing these challenges has shown us that we have a very focused and collaborative National Council that is both responsive to criticism and open to change. We have a very busy agenda over the coming year; however, I am extremely encouraged by the energy of the current council and their commitment towards a range of strategies that are being developed with a view to achieving constant improvement within our organisation.

I would also like to thank and congratulate David Karotkin for his excellent tenure as National President over the past year. David has been very effective in steering the National Council through a number of challenges with a consistent commitment to serving the best interests of both our members and the profession. I look forward to achieving a number of important outcomes with David in his role as Immediate Past President and I have appreciated his ongoing counsel.

Recently I travelled to Venice on holiday and attended the opening of our new Australia Pavilion in the Giardini. My visit  coincided with the opening of the Biennale Arte, an incredibly inspiring experience and the response to our pavilion designed by Denton Corker Marshall was exceptional. Next year will be equally exciting with our first Architecture Biennale in the new pavilion and I would encourage you to visit The Pool to support this important opportunity.

Following Venice I attended the American Institute of Architects’ Convention in Atlanta, which coincided with our Annual Conference in Melbourne. 18000 architects in attendance and a keynote presentation from former President Bill Clinton gives you an idea of the scale of the event. This was an important opportunity to meet with leaders of our profession from many countries and there was a clear focus on improving our collaborative ability to provide appropriate support around rebuilding programs following natural disasters.

Wrapping up our annual awards season is well under way and next week we launch into our chapter presentation ceremonies. I have the honour of attending most of our presentation events over the coming weeks and look forward to seeing many excellent projects being recognised. Attending the awards also provides me with a great opportunity to meet many of our members and hear about the varied experiences of practicing across the country. If you have the opportunity, I would encourage you to attend your chapter’s event. These events are a highlight of the year and they are a great way to support and promote our profession.

Jon Clements
National President