Australians are travellers, and some, by virtue of their origin, international. And so, it is to be expected that Australian architects have travelled far and wide and enjoyed practicing in foreign countries and cultures. The International Chapter Awards program is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the adventurous and intrepid spirit of Australians combined with the hard work of Australian architects.
As you all know, this year’s awards programme was planned to be hosted at the Venice Biennale; this is part of our new International Chapter Awards programme strategy whereby we will host our awards in Venice on the year of the Architecture Biennale and at the National Conference every other year. This strategy is aimed at increasing the profile and exposure of our members and their work in a creative, international context while reconnecting them to our national colleagues and context, enriching our roles and our conversation – we have exciting prospects ahead!
Last year’s International Chapter awards event was hosted in Dubai where we had invited the Dubai design community to join for an evening that, beyond the awards themselves, gave Australian architects involved in various aspects of designing and building Expo 2020 Dubai, an opportunity to share their contribution to global major events and architecture. We had the honour of having the Australian Commissioner General present the Australia Pavilion.
This year however, confined as we are to this new order, we will be celebrating virtually. As I sit here and ponder what this means and the efforts of all involved to make this a possible reality, I think back to preparations in Dubai and our ‘grand ambition’ to livestream the night for all our members globally. The ambition was abandoned at the time because deemed to be too complicated – yet here we are, only 12 months later, catapulted by COVID-19 into an accelerated digital and virtual future which makes last year’s reasoning appear to have come from another era!
And so it is, that in this new place in this ‘sudden future’, we are brought together virtually to celebrate the talented architects of our International Chapter. Entries include projects ranging from the Aman Hotel in Japan, to affordable housing in USA, to residences in New Zealand and so much more. The variety of projects is testament to the breadth of the abilities, the vision and the tenacity of our members. We are proud to be fostering an international network of great talent, while rewarding the endeavours of our intrepid international members. I wish all entrants the best of luck for this year’s awards!
Chair, International Chapter
Australian Institute of Architects