Sustainable design advocate honoured with ACT architecture top prize

Community advocate, researcher, and architect, Dr Melinda Dodson has been awarded the ACT President’s Medal.

Principal of Melinda Dodson Architects, Institute Life Fellow and former National President, Dr Dodson has demonstrated her commitment to sustainable cities through architectural practice, research, industry leadership and public advocacy for more than 25 years.

“Melinda embodies what it is to be a professional who acts in the public interest to improve outcomes for the community with a passion for the delivery of inclusive sustainable built environments,” ACT President Jane Cassidy said.

“She strongly believes that architecture holds the key to solving many of the frustrations of our cities. Her research informs the development of strategies to improve housing choice and affordability and to reduce housing carbon emissions, set against the ACT 2045 net-zero targets.”

Melinda is also the founder of the ground-breaking Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge (CLCHC), an innovative local competition and showcase for sustainable building and construction.

The Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge is the 2022 recipient of the Clem Cummings Medal. The Medal recognises contributions by non-architects and architects to architecture in the public interest. The CLCHC team is Dr Melinda Dodson, Rob Henry from Rob Henry Architects and David Clarke of Tallowwood Architecture.

The competition highlights low-carbon strategies and efficiencies that can be used to reduce the overall carbon emissions from homes, not just energy efficiency.

“The Canberra Low Carbon Housing Challenge team is to be commended for its public outreach through the competition, and digital and face-to-face public exhibitions,” ACT President Jane Cassidy said.

“The team has achieved excellent results in its short life and has already developed an ambitious program of research projects, peer education and exhibitions to extend its reach from single housing to larger scale developments.”

The ACT Architecture Professional Practitioner Award was awarded to Russell Pfitz from GHD Woodhead, for his enduring impact on the profession over three decades and his excellence in technical architecture.

Mr Pfitz has worked across complex industrial and institutional architecture including water and energy, Defence and security, and has developed significant heritage and technical expertise.

This has been demonstrated through projects including architecture across the Federal Parliamentary Triangle to achieve marble-faced restoration, copper roof replacement, asbestos remediation and waterproofing.

“His technically focussed heritage work ensures that our significant architecture endures for future generations to come,” the Jury said.

The future of architecture in the ACT has been recognised with Kate Shepherd of Rob Henry Architects winning the 2022 Emerging Architect Prize.

Noting her excellence in cross-practice design, the Jury said Ms Shepherd had demonstrated incredible longevity, breadth and commitment to the industry through her volunteer work and industry leadership.

“Through the knowledge she has gained through practice, Kate has applied considerable design skill and refined technical detailing at both commercial and residential scales. Kate Shepherd exemplifies what it means to be an architect in society,” the Jury said.

The student prizes for achievement at the University of Canberra went to Amanda Marshall for the highest-grade point average over five years at the University of Canberra, winning her the ACT Chapter Student Medallion. Roger Clarke won the John Redmond Prize for the highest achievement in the first three years of the Bachelor of the Built Environment (Architecture).

The University of Canberra student Juliana Zubovic took out the Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn Graduate Prize for the highest-grade point average over the two-year Master of Architecture course.

For media enquiries contact:

Rosanne Barrett on behalf of the Australian Institute of Architects
M. +61 0425 420 024 |