The Australian Institute of Architects has announced Kerstin Thompson LFRAIA as the recipient of the prestigious Gold Medal for 2023.
Melbourne-based Ms Thompson is an outstanding architect whose design practice is renowned internationally as a significant and innovative reference point in Australian architecture and urban design.
The Gold Medal is the highest honour presented by the Institute. It acknowledges distinguished service by those who have contributed to the advancement of the profession, produced work of great distinction, or endowed the architecture industry in a distinguished manner.
During the year of their award, the Gold Medal recipient travels to all Australian states and territories to present a speech and overview of their works and experiences in architecture.
Gold Medal Jury Chair and Past National President Shannon Battisson FRAIA said Ms Thompson had contributed significantly to architectural discourse through her work as a designer, educator, and highly respected keynote speaker throughout more than three decades of work.
“Spanning varying scales, from large public projects to intricate domestic architecture, Thompson’s sublime work is at once generous, bold and highly nuanced,” Ms Battisson said.
“Taking its cues from the context, it creates a built form that allows the setting to take centre stage.
“Further, she has displayed dedication to the profession through extensive efforts with the Australian Institute of Architects, including ‘captaincy’ at the 2019 National Architecture Conference, creative directorship of the 2005 National Architecture Conference, co-curatorship of Australia’s official contribution to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, and participation in countless design panels and juries – all while leading her practice with a level of skill, consideration and aesthetic to which many aspire.”
Ms Thompson’s award-winning work also places great emphasis on sustainable principles and a multidisciplinary approach to architecture. She has set new precedents in extending the useful life of existing buildings, and her designs integrate seamlessly with their natural surroundings.
Her contribution to the field of heritage architecture is particularly notable, as evidenced by her work on the Melbourne Holocaust Museum. Through the use of finely detailed yet infinitely simple design elements, Ms Thompson successfully established a resonance between old and new and created a space that serves to keep memory alive.
Ms Battisson said the Gold Medal recognised Ms Thompson’s quality and breadth of work.
“Her design ethos favours subtle expression and graciousness over force, and her propensity to address some of the biggest issues of our time,” she said.
“Through her work in academia and as a role model for women in the profession, she is an inspiration to the profession as a whole and to future generations of architects.”
Ms Thompson is the creative design director at Kerstin Thompson Architects, a practice that has been recognised with numerous awards at the state, national, and international level. In 2020, the practice was the recipient of the Victorian Architecture Medal, and in 2022, it was awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture.
The Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal is awarded in honour of Thompson’s contribution to the advancement of architecture and the profession as a whole. The Institute congratulates Kerstin Thompson on this well-deserved recognition of her outstanding work.
The 2023 National Gold Medal Tour is proudly sponsored by Taubmans.