From the National President

Last Thursday night, the National Architecture Awards were held at the Sydney Opera House.

This year’s awards attracted 874 diverse and accomplished entries from Australia and offshore. The program has continued strongly despite difficult economic times. It remains an important opportunity for public and peer recognition, and provides the Institute with a valuable mechanism to promote architects and architecture in Australia and internationally.

If I was to point to any trends this year, there is certainly strength in the notion of community. By this I mean the exceptional quality of work that is evident in public buildings, but also the fact that architects are fundamentally designing for communities. They are increasingly sensitive to the place their work, whether residential, commercial or other uses, will have in the community – and, beyond that, what its legacy to the community might be.

In a month that has seen catastrophic bushfires in NSW as hail and severe storms lashed Victoria, the importance, even urgency, of good building design is underscored. As communities increasingly face extreme natural events, there has never been more focus on the built environment and this puts architects in the unique position of being change agents for the benefit of communities, both now and in the future.

To all of the 2013 Award winners, congratulations. Your works have without exception enriched each of our lives and our communities, and advocated for the quality of our profession and our professionalism. Visit our website for a full winners list.

There was more good news last week with the announcement by federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, that the government would permanently abolish the $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education expenses.

The proposal to cap the deductions was announced in April by former Treasurer Wayne Swan. Following this, the Institute aligned with Scrap the Cap, an alliance of over 70 organisations covering a broad range of industry and professional organisations to lobby against its introduction.

The Institute welcomes this news as the cap would have hurt many sectors of the economy through loss of productivity and many professionals no longer being able to afford to keep their skills up to date. You can read more about the announcement here.


Paul Berkemeier, National President