WA Chapter President’s Message

Peter Hobbs, WA Chapter President

Congratulations to all the 2020 National Architecture Award winners in particular our WA recipients; Curtin University Midland Campus by Lyons Architecture with Silver Thomas Hanley for winning the 2020 National Educational Award and Pingelly Recreation and Cultural Centre by Iredale Pedersen Hook with Advanced Timber Concepts for their commendation award in the Sustainable Architecture category.  

The Biden victory is hopefully a turning point in current political conduct, back towards civil dialogue and consensus politics. The other hopeful sign is Biden’s commitment to science, in relation to both climate and Covid.

In Australia, we too have become extremely polarised. We are still yet to achieve a bi-partisan approach to climate and energy, despite having quite literally seen the country go up in flames last summer. And while there has been a consensus towards the government’s attitudes towards lockdowns, some cracks had emerged. By in large though, we have been extremely lucky, for a country that has always projected a larrikin distrust of authority, Australians proved themselves, self-surprisingly, cooperative and compliant.

One major subject of polarisation is towards our local communities’ centres around density. Last Saturday, the Institute was lucky to have contributed a discussion panel at the Festival of Disruptive Ideas hosted by the State Library. The discussion entitled Covid, Climate and the City, and focused on how this might inform the design of buildings and the urban design of our suburbs.

The audience asked many pertinent questions: what will happen to carparks when we go driverless? what does the apartment of the future look like? what will happen to physical shops with the increased popularity of online shopping?

Another audience member, an East Fremantle councillor, asked how planners assess the quality medium density proposals; the answer is simple: engage an architect who can. Another audience member commented that while they understood the necessity of density in middle ring suburbs, just didn’t want it to occur in their neighbourhood!

The great thing was to have had such an engaging conversation – clearly the community is interested in and concerned by the design of their neighbourhoods – Architects must continue to advocate, lead by example, keep a calm and reasoned conversation going that respects the fears of the community, and provide solutions that are win wins for all.