From the SA Chapter President – October 2020

As a first E-news statement as SA Chapter President I am keen to set a tone for the following months; one of considered ambition – that underpins the recent work and looks to clarify clear trajectories. I am lucky enough to be in a position to take on the role; I have the support of my own practice as well as Council, and have been pleasantly surprised at the number of messages of support from around the profession. I am looking forward to the challenge and to build on programs that are underway and developing new ones.

I would like to echo and underline some of the points Tony Giannone made in his last statement; I also love what I do. I like being an Architect, and I enjoy being part of the design community.  I think we as architects, more than any other allied professionals take on a sense of responsibility that exceeds what is acknowledged – a double-edged sword perhaps.  From my time in Latin America (I have to mention this due to expectation) it was the custom to be referred to as Architect (Arcitecto) rather than other forms of polite or formal address including my actual name, and while my practice is relatively broad, I do continue to use the term Architect as a preferred identifier. Back in South Australia, I divide my time between practice, teaching, my PhD and the Institute – which I see as the pivotal body, at the heart of our profession and within the broader design community, forming an entity that facilitates dialogue and provides support.  

The built form of our cities is the biggest reflection of our cultural identity and they are symbols of our collective ambition and reflections of our complex histories. As designers we understand that good places are built on narrative, imagination and embody a sense of authenticity. As a body – an association of like-minded designers, the Institute should take a pivotal role in the design processes. As a community we shouldn’t be afraid of deciding how we want our cities to be and I want to encourage more ambition in providing that vision. The AIA is uniquely placed – to help shape that vision and encourage the discussion around it. At the same time, I am keen to see the AIA collaboratively foster an industry that is based on a culture of trust and professionalism – one that that we want to invest in, and one that delivers great outcomes.

South Australia is home to some of the Nation’s most influential architectural practices and we have a strong design culture that we can and are, building on. This culture is supported by a foundation of good practice, and good practice provides a solid platform for both good design, and strong advocacy. As a profession, our role in discussions must be based on evidence-based information and clear and cohesive messaging and we will be continuing to polish our practice on a range of fronts. I will be engaging with other design bodies and industry associations, with education bodies and with Government.

Through the last few months the Institute has strengthened its presence and relevance, delivering highly successful on-line events on a regular basis, including the awards program. As we move back toward a more ‘usual’ framework, we aim to reflect on what we can take forward from those isolating months. We now have strong South Australian representation across the National Institute with Tony Giannone as National President Elect, Erin Crowden as National EmAGN President, and myself; a more than usual opportunity to participate in and influence the National dialogue.  

Lastly, I would like to thank Tony for his presidency, I think we are stronger for it, and I hope I can continue to keep up the momentum. I am looking forward to working with Nicolette and the Chapter staff, Vanessa, Lesley and Zaf, with other associations, and with practitioners across the membership.

Anthony Coupe
SA Chapter President