Queensland Chapter President | Dr Mark Jones FRAIA
“Your excellency, elected government representatives, sponsor representatives, award winners, Life Fellows, Fellows, Members, Chapter staff, family members, and friends.
Thank you, Michael and Cameron. My first task is to thank Michael, on your behalf, for his extraordinary service in the role of Chapter President. The confluence of major events that befell Michael’s Presidency was beyond remarkable – not only Covid but also all sorts of significant industry challenges came his way. That Michael rose to the occasion so capably and with calm confidence deserves our deep and lasting appreciation. Michael, please do accept a profound thank you, a profound thank you, from all of us. Special thanks too to Michael’s business partners, BV, MB and MC. M3 Architecture has indeed made a major contribution to our profession over the last 2 years. Long may you prosper hereafter. Thank you M3. Thanks also of course to Michael’s partner Justine for all that you endured – thank you Justine.
Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ll think that I have a boring life, but this night is always my favourite event of the year. There’s a great sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people, on a similar architectural journey, with similar challenges and joys. Nights like tonight really are a celebration, a celebration I think, of shared values.
I’d like to speak briefly tonight to three issues of deep interest to me. Of course, Chapter Council and I will be deeply involved in many other issues, but I personally do want to push for substantial advancement across these three.
My second area of focus concerns the architect’s role in a zero-carbon world. It’s safe to say that every architect and every practice represented here tonight is striving for high performance buildings in environmental terms. This is now part of our architectural DNA. However, are we doing enough for zero carbon by 2050? Of course not!! Zero-carbon is a hugely aspirational target in a coal-fired economy, in a concrete and steel-dominated industry and in a demolish-and-rebuild society. The AIA National Climate Action Taskforce is working hard on defining and promoting the notion of a zero-carbon building industry, as is the Green Building Council. This will surely be a BCA requirement by the end of this decade. Again, for most of us there’s much to learn here. This is especially important as the industry will surely look to architects for leadership to a zero-carbon built environment. Inarguably, this is our most critical mission. Inarguably!
The third big issue which I seek to champion is the financial sustainability of architectural practice, without which, high quality outcomes for the benefit of clients, society and the environment, are unlikely to be achieved. This is a topic for a different forum, but I do ask here tonight for participation of all practices in a series of collaborative discussions around profitability-related issues. I’m intimate with all of the competitive realities. Nevertheless, at a moment when demand for our services is high, and while we have an unaligned President, a position of collective strength might just be achievable, for everyone’s benefit. The ultimate objective here is to lay a foundation for design excellence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please excuse me in my last few sentences for a personal indulgence. That is, in my mind, I dedicate my Presidency to the memory of my father, who passed away seven months ago. Derek Jones, a Life Fellow of this Institute, cherished his profession, as do I. In those terms, I am deeply honoured and pleased to undertake this role to the best of my ability. And I do thank you for the opportunity. Thank you.”