National President's Prize

National President's Prize

2022 Winner

Congratulations Khai Liew

The National President’s Prize recognises an individual’s contribution to the advancement of architecture in any significant way, other than through architectural design, practice or education.

The 2022 recipient of the National President’s Prize is Khai Liew

The relationship between architecture and furniture is historically appreciated. It is often said that the furniture in a building makes the architecture look good.

The influence of Khai Liew within the architecture profession is often understated.

It is Khai’s very understated humble manner that draws the many threads of deliberate collaboration together to bring out the recognition of what is possible when we leave our egos home around the design table.

Khai has been at the forefront of understanding Australian historical and cultural artefacts beginning with the repurposing of traditional settlement Barossa Valley furniture.

The essence of Khai’s work is best reflected in a poster that adorns his workshop…..on one side…

“Beauty is goodness written in matter” …….and on the other ….spirituality, domesticity and community

Beauty, goodness, balance, graceful, emotional, rhythmical, elegance, simplicity, original, crafted, folded, pleated, intricate, bespoke, spiritual, purity ….. are words often referenced in the work of this master.

Khai Liew’s studio and workshop is based in Adelaide. He acts as a consultant to State and National institutions, advising on acquisition and conservation in the field of Australian material culture. As a designer, he draws on this knowledge and on his cultivated design language to produce useful, meaningful and delightful work that speaks of its time, place, people and culture.

His advocacy of “beautiful’ and purposeful architecture to clients, government, institutions and the passing of this knowledge to students has been exemplar, leading by example from the appreciation of what is possible through deliberate design rather than production. Liew’s designs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Design Museum, London and the Triennale De Milano. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Khai has what no formal design training can instill, spiritual humility that embodies the ethos of “ let the work do the talking” a principle that has been lost in this overexposed media world.

His exemplar work exhibits no boundaries, it draws on life’s experience, family origins and the dedicated research into understanding the most intricate details of furniture making drawn from many cultures.

If beauty is the precursor to the work of Khai Liew, then he adorns that beauty into architecture.

Congratulations Khai.

Tony Giannone – National President | Director, Tectvs

2022 National President's Prize Winner | Khai Liew | Photographer: Grant Hancock

2021 Winner

Congratulations Andrew Mackenzie

The National President’s Prize is an opportunity to recognise an individual who advances architecture from outside the profession. The 2021 Prize acknowledges Andrew Mackenzie’s masterly and comprehensive career spanning nearly three decades as an exemplary architectural writer, curator, editor, publisher, advisor, and procurement specialist.

His contribution in words and print started in 2002 as editor of Architecture Review Australia, advancing awareness of Australian architecture especially bringing forth new names in our profession.  Prior to working in Australia, Andrew held exhibition and curatorial positions in London from 1992, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art (1992-95) and as Director of Exhibitions at the Architectural Association (1993-2000) in Bedford Square.

Since 2010 Andrew has tirelessly advanced architecture and the profession through multifarious roles, including Board member of Architects Without Frontiers (2010-2018), contributing Editor Architecture Australia (2012-2016), and feature writers for both the Good Weekend, Australian Financial Review (2011-2018) and the Saturday Paper (2014-2017). Andrew is keenly cognisant of Australia’s architectural reach and significance as an Oceanic player. He generously and eloquently focused his attention on Australian architecture as Correspondent (2014-16) and occasional columnist for the Architecture Review (UK).

His astute insights into the complex subject of architectural procurement generated a national conference addressing how architecture is procured and the problems of architectural commissions. Entitled ‘Risk’, the 2015 conference was memorable for referring professional issues back to the profession and identifying a series of current challenges faced by architects.

He founded ‘Uro’ in 2009 and was joined a year later by his colleague and co-director Maitiú Ward. Together they have made Uro the foremost Australian independent book publisher focussed on architects and architecture, with over 40 titles on architecture published in the last 12 years. Uro’s early publications perceptively addressed significant topics of currency. ‘Falls the Shadow’, covering the late history of the National Gallery of Australia and its recent additions – supported by the original architect of the National Gallery, RAIA Gold Medallist Colin Madigan – remains an important record of time, and what not to do to contemporary Modern Architecture.  

His ‘CityLab’, founded in 2011, is an independent consultancy that manages architecture competitions, and seeks to promote local architects rather than the now familiar prioritisation of overseas entrants. It recently ran competitions for the Newcastle University Alumni House and the National Gallery of Victoria, both restricted to local practitioners.

In addition to perpetuating the Partner role at Uro and Directorship at CityLab, since 2016 Andrew has maintained positions as a Panel Member of Victorian Design Review Panel, Program Advisor and Moderator of Living Cities Forum and co-editor of Foreground.

Andrew has stood at the vanguard of current issues in the profession, and supported the profession’s issues even at the risk of prejudicing his own commercial interests, with a generous disposition prioritising the profession of architecture and local architects. His magnanimous efforts have quietly elevated the profession’s standing and the prestige of local architects and architecture.

2021 President's Prize winner | Andrew Mackenzie

2020 Winner

Clover Moore

In 2020 the National President’s Prize goes to the City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. A vocal advocate of quality architecture, progressive policies and ambitious action on climate change, her vision and leadership over 30 years, has systematically transformed the City of Sydney into one of our most liveable cities.

Under her leadership, the City of Sydney has developed a global reputation, delivering award-winning buildings, open spaces and transport infrastructure, instituting design excellence as public policy, supporting creative industries and initiating progressive solutions to complex social and environmental challenges.

Clover entered politics out of her concerns for social and environmental justice and the degraded urban environment in her local inner-city community. Her advocacy for architecture and a quality built environment for all stems from these concerns. 

As Lord Mayor, Clover led the development and implementation of the City of Sydney’s long-term plan – Sustainable Sydney 2030. Tellingly, this plan includes many ideas from the city’s notable architects and urban designers and sets the stage for Sydney to become a world leader in sustainability and liveability. With ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse emissions, the City became Australia’s first climate-neutral Council in 2017, in 2020 it will be powered by 100% renewable energy and is on track be to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

As Lord Mayor, she was determined to have a better urban environment. To increase the certainty for residents and developers and oversaw a massive review and consultation process to frame new Planning controls and innovative policies including the landmark Design Excellence Policy.  This requires Design competitions for major sites in the city and has lifted the design quality of major developments and at the same time created new opportunities for both established and emerging architects.

Clover has also been a champion of architecture through the City’s own projects, commissioning innovative public buildings, facilities, open spaces and public art imbued with broader social, cultural and environmental goals. Here too the city has provided diverse opportunities for both eminent and emerging architects, landscape architects and urban designers.

These exemplar projects have not only rejuvenated the city’s streets, squares and green spaces but are in the main, award winning projects. Exemplars include the Sulman Award winning Green Square Library, Surry Hills Library, Prince Alfred Park and Swimming Centre and the Joynton Ave Creative Precinct, to name a few. There are many more, with others in the pipeline.

Furthermore, demonstrating an understanding of the value architects can bring more broadly, the City has employed architects in key city executive, planning, design and project roles as well as expert advisory roles on Design, Planning and Public Art Advisory Panels. 

Her commitment to the creation a lively, liveable and just city is to be applauded, and I am pleased that she sees the intrinsic value that architects, and well-designed places bring to the realisation of this agenda.

2020 President's Prize winner | Clover Moore | Photographer: Jacquie Manning

2019 winner

Tim Ross

‘Architecture needs champions: advocates who will embrace our campaigns for design – and its positive impact on communities, the environment and society – and amplify our voice to a wider audience.

One of our champions is Tim Ross. A comedian, self-proclaimed design nerd, broadcaster and entertainer, Tim is one of our industry’s most passionate activists and champions. Not only has he raised the profile of heritage and design in general, he also promotes Australian architecture in his unique voice in popular culture.

He delved into modernist Australian residential architecture in the 2016 television show Streets of Your Town, highlighting its importance in contemporary culture and its precarious standing in planning codes. This was a passion project for Tim, who devised, wrote and hosted the two-part series. It was the most-watched arts program that year. His involvement expands the reach of the architecture profession to a much wider audience than we would otherwise be able to achieve.

Together with Kit Warhurst, Tim established Man About the House in 2013 to host small gatherings in iconic Australian modernist buildings. Through storytelling, comedy and music, these events provide a unique opportunity for the public to experience architecture. In recent years, the program has expanded to showcase contemporary architect-designed homes at home and abroad.

Tim is a true advocate for the cause of architecture. Presenting the Australian Institute of Architects’ Griffin Lecture at the National Press Club last year, he argued the case for protecting our “new heritage,” its retention being critical to the cultural fabric of our communities. Tim has also been vocal in the Hands Off Anzac Hall and Save Our Sirius campaigns and achieved recognition with a National Trust Heritage Award for Advocacy last year.

Now it is our turn to officially recognize him for his advocacy, activism and outstanding contribution to the architecture profession. In awarding the 2019 National President’s Prize, we thank Tim for his passion, his entertainment, his vision, and his heart and soul for the cause of architecture.’ – Jury Citation

Tim Ross, Winner of the 2019 National President's Prize