From the National President

23 November

Many of you are already aware that the Institute’s CEO, David Parken, will be retiring after 10 years of valuable service. David will be officially stepping down from his role in December, and the Institute is currently advertising for the recruitment of a new CEO nationally in both print and digital media. The recruitment process is expected to take a couple of months and it is likely that a new CEO appointment will commence in the second quarter of 2016. Recently the Institute appointed Greg Ridder in the role of Interim COO to assist the Institute during the transition process and Greg Ridder has been very effective in providing support to both the National Council and the team at the Institute. Greg Ridder will move into the role of Acting CEO until the new appointment occurs and we will provide updates to members as the recruitment process progresses.

On a separate note we have had a fair bit of coverage for the recent National Awards, however I would like to offer a few words of reflection on the program.

Our Awards program highlights the significant contribution that architects are making within our communities. This year, outstanding public projects in healthcare, education, culture, urban design, sustainability and heritage were delivered in all states and territories. Throughout Australia and overseas, clients, architects and project teams have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the realisation of exceptional architecture

Importantly however, the results are not always as predicted and the diversity of the outcomes demonstrates that Australian architecture continues to adapt and innovate in response to complex challenges. The outcomes are highly respected by our members and the broader industry and our Awards program continues to be widely recognised in architectural media throughout Australia and overseas.

What is clear is that many of our young and emerging architects are delivering some of the most exceptional work around the country. The depth of talent is extraordinary; however, emerging architects are also faced with significant challenges in the current practice environment and we need to encourage them to take calculated risks to facilitate the growth of their studios. It is the responsibility of both the Institute and the leaders of our profession to support emerging talent in the space of developing practice as our emerging architects will play a critical part in the security of our profession through the employment and practical training of our future architects.

Closing off the Awards presentation, I spoke about the future of the Institute and the industry as a whole. In particular, highlighting that the value of architects and architecture should not become undermined, as has been evidenced in the current procurement environment. We can no longer afford to observe from a back seat and you can read some excerpts from my closing speech in this article published on ArchitectureAU.

Lastly, just a quick reminder: the website is live and registrations open for How Soon Is Now, the 2016 National Architecture Conference, which will be held in Adelaide, 28-30 April. The first round of speakers has been announced. I would encourage you to take time out of your schedules to attend what promises to be a thought provoking and social experience.
Jon Clements

National President, Australian Institute of Architects