Bruce Raymond MEDEK LFRAIA (1965-2022)
Architect, advocate for design and the architectural profession
By Alice Hampson and Michael Lavery
Bruce Medek was born in Brisbane. His father, Raymond Edward, was a panel beater and chauffer; his mother, Mavis Irene, a businesswoman. Matriculating from Mansfield State High, Bruce completed an Associate Diploma in Built Environment from the then Queensland Institute of Technology (1985) and immediately enrolled in QIT’s six-year part-time Bachelor of Architecture course. After three years, Bruce travelled with colleagues to the UK, working for Lister Drew Haines Barrow and experiencing architecture firsthand across Europe and North America. Returning in 1990 to complete his degree, he graduated with honours in 1993, achieving registration the following year. Bruce also meet his future wife, Maree the same year.
Bruce had already accumulated extensive architectural experience with Philips Smith Conwell (1984-1988) and Guymer Bailey (1990-1995). Tim Guymer and Ralph Bailey embraced Bruce’s pioneering ethos of design for sustainable development, and his roles included the kindergarten and staff facilities for Kingfisher Bay Resort. Completed in 1992 on the sensitive ecology of Fraser Island, this was an environmental and sustainability exemplar, winning both the FDG Stanley Award for public architecture and a national award for commercial architecture.
In 1995, Bruce and Jim Gall founded Gall & Medek (1995-2009). Bruce’s passion for “critical social infrastructure” was reflected in the master plan for the Burnett Youth Learning Centre, Bundaberg, and the administration, agriculture, hospitality and trade and technical buildings delivered over the next eight years.
Quickly attracting peer recognition, Gall & Medek’s Queensland RAIA awards included the Harry Marks Award for Sustainable Architecture (2004), the FDG Stanley Award for Public Buildings (2004), and the Multi Residential Award (2001 and 2009). They received a Certificate of Merit in the RAPI national award for planning excellence (2002), the PIA award for excellence in housing (2007), and the Environ BPN sustainability award for high density residential (2007), and were placed second internationally in the RIBA’s “Building a Sustainable World Life in the Balance Competition” (2007).
In 2005, Gall & Medek celebrated their decade milestone – not with an event or glossy marketing publication – but with Bruce and Jim combining their interests in sustainability, social responsibility and community, by producing a cookbook printed on recycled office stationery. It is notable for the introduction featuring Bruce’s signature dry observations.
Following Gall & Medek 2009 dissolution, Bruce held senior positions with prominent Brisbane firms Bureau Proberts (2009-2013) and BSPN (2020-2023). From 2011 to 2022, Bruce practised as Medek Architecture.
Serving the RAIA with unparalleled distinction, Bruce was Queensland convener of the Practice of Architecture Learning Series (2004-2008), a member of the National Practice Committee (2006-2008) and the National Contracts Consultative Committee (2010-2013), Chair of the Brisbane Regional Awards Programme (2002), and Chapter President (2008-2010). As the youngest Chapter President ever elected in Queensland, in 2017 Bruce was awarded a RAIA Life Fellowship.
Equally outstanding was Bruce’s service to the Queensland Board of Architects. Appointed twelve months before his election as Chapter President in 2007, he represented the Board on the State Visiting Panel for the accreditation of QUT (twice), Griffith University and UQ. He remained the Institute’s representative from 2010 to 2013, and in 2013 was returned as Architect Elected Member. Bruce became Board Chair in 2018 and served continuously until stepping down in 2022.
Bruce oversaw the digital transformation of the Board’s services, extending service delivery state-wide, introducing electronic voting, and providing time-saving systems for architects. Through genuine open consultation with architects, Bruce and the Board increased both responsiveness and financial sustainability, demonstrating how a contemporary administrative organisation can improve services and add value. Bruce represented the Board at the Ministerial Construction Council and contributed significantly to the Government’s requests for information for the Shergold Weir Building Confidence Report. Bruce reinstated the conferring ceremony where new architects are formally presented with registration certificates, enhanced recognition of the profession’s most venerable members with pins for architects attaining 50 years of registration, and commenced planning for the Board’s centenary celebrations.
In keeping with his personal and professional commitment to a healthy sustainable environment, Bruce was also a Board member for Keep Australia Beautiful, Queensland (2009-2013).
Bruce’s service – to the profession, the RAIA, the Architects Board, and the community – was acknowledged with the 2022 RAIA Queensland Chapter President’s Prize. His work, his interests and achievements in practice, his advocacy for the profession, his mentoring, his passion for sustainability, and his promotion of the public interest, all reflect a lifelong ethic of applied social responsibility.
Bruce is survived by his widow Maree and sons Oscar and Theo. The Australian Institute of Architects pays tribute to Bruce, his selfless devotion and life-time service to the architectural profession.