Welcome Blake Hillebrand, SONA President

Welcome Blake Hillebrand National Student Organised Network for Architecture President

The Australian Institute of Architects is delighted to welcome Blake Hillebrand into the role of National Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA) President.

The National SONA President leads the national SONA Committee and is a member of the Institute’s National Council. These two responsibilities provide the SONA President with the ideal platform to focus attention on the important issues facing the student demographic and to advocate for changes that will better support the next generation of built environment professionals.  

A message from Blake 

I am honoured to begin my term as National SONA President with the Australian Institute of Architects for 2024. I would like to extend my gratitude to Immediate Past President, Thomas Huntingford, for his dedicated service to SONA over several years and for his commitment to representing the interests of students on the National Council as SONA President.  

SONA, the Student Organised Network for Architecture, is a collective of university students pursuing their bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the built environment. With SONA representatives at 23 universities across Australia, we form state groups that collaborate to deliver on SONA’s three key driving pillars: Advocacy, Community, and Professional Development.

I am excited to lead SONA alongside the dedicated national executive team – Matt Sabransky, Shirin Kilinc, and Liam Leblond. Together, with the collective efforts of SONA representatives, I am confident that we can continue to make a positive impact for students.

SONA membership is tailored to support the unique needs of the next generation of architects and built environment professionals, providing access to industry through mentorship and networking, design competitions and opportunities to engage with the profession while studying. 

In my tenure as SONA president, I am excited to build upon the great work already put into the SONA program.

National SONA President Blake Hillebrand | image credit: Madelynn Jenkins

I look forward to supporting the team in the successful delivery of initiatives like Super Studio, Beyond uni, de-PICT and impactful SONA advocacy projects like the student positions statements. I am also keen to focus our national efforts on three key areas: Sustainability & Climate Action education and awareness, International Connectivity, and Cross-discipline collaboration & networking.

I look forward to collaborating with the SONA Executive team supported by Madelynn Jenkins and Claudia McCarthy, representing students on National Council, as well as the National Education committee. 

I am interested to hear what ideas you might have for SONA.  You can reach me at sona@architecture.com.au to express any concerns, ideas or possible collaboration opportunities. For local enquiries and events, please contact your local SONA reps or chapters. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you soon at one of our events.

About Blake 


Blake Hillebrand is a student of architecture at BayleyWard and master’s student at RMIT University. At BayleyWard, he is working on multi-residential and commercial projects with a keen interest in sustainability. In 2023, Blake was awarded two Institute Awards: the National Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture and a commendation recipient of the AIA Student Ideas Prize, specifically for its circular design principles.


Acknowledgement of Country 

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. 

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