Shannon Battisson to bring focus on accessibility and sustainability as National President

Award-winning Canberra architect Shannon Battisson will bring a commitment to championing architecture to the public while ensuring sustainability remains top of mind in her role as the incoming National President for the Australian Institute of Architects.

The Canberra-based director of The Mill: Architecture + Design will take on the role of leading advocacy for the peak body for architects from Thursday, May 19, at the Institute’s annual general meeting. She succeeds Tony Giannone, who has served as National President of the 13,000-strong member organisation over the last 12 months.

At 41 years of age, Ms Battisson will become one of the youngest ever National Presidents.

“I’m deeply motivated by the relationship between people, place and space,” she said. “Good architecture is an act of both generosity and responsibility.”

“Good architecture connects to Country, climate and the people who inhabit both the spaces inside and surrounding our buildings, and – potentially the most important quality of all – good architecture leaves no one behind.”

“During my term as National President I will work hard to dispel the myth that architecture is only for those who can afford it. Those who can least afford it are the ones who need it most. Architects are there and ready to be part of the solution that we, as a community, desperately need in order to face the climate crisis unfolding around us. And this extends across all scales and manner of built environment, from large scale public architecture, down to our most humble of buildings, our homes.”

Ms Battisson was awarded the ACT Chapter’s Emerging Architect Prize in 2018, and served as the ACT Chapter President in 2020. She previously chaired the ACT Chapter Sustainability Committee, and was jointly named in the 2017 ACT President’s Medal.

Ms Battisson said the importance of climate responsiveness – especially in residential architecture – was critical.

“Climate responsive architecture is not a specialty, all good architecture needs to respond to the Country onto which it is to be placed, and the climate in which it is to operate,” she said.

“We are currently filling suburb after suburb with poorly designed houses that fail to meet basic thermal performance levels now, let alone as our climate warms.

“It is time we come together as a community, including all disciplines across the construction and development industry, and find the solutions that we need as a society. We have done it before, and we must do it again.”

Throughout the last year she has been part of the Institute’s National Committee as the National President Elect, alongside Mr Giannone and Immediate Past President Alice Hampson.

“I would like to thank Tony for his quiet strength and brave leadership, the National Committee and our Board of Directors as well as the wider Institute team for their remarkable work behind the scenes in order to allow the Institute to remain a beacon of strength for our profession, and to advocate for the benefit of architecture to all,” she said.


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