Best in Practice Prize

2020 Best in Practice Prize Joint Winners MHNDU and Carter Williamson

About the Prize

Congratulations Carter Williamson, MHNDU and Mirvac Design

Joint winner Carter Williamson is a demonstration that small practice can be a diverse and supportive workplace, at the same time as advancing and advocating for the profession.

Joint winner MHNDU stood out in this year’s judging due to strategies established and implemented which ensured psychologically safe, flexible and supportive studio and Working From Home environments. 

Commendation recipient Mirvac Design has shown that non-traditional practice structures are not a barrier to developing a positive and supportive workplace.

Best in Practice Prize

Launched in July 2019, the Best in Practice Prize recognises excellence in practice, with a focus on the development of supportive and inclusive workplaces and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

To acknowledge non-project initiatives and successes in running a practice and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

To raise awareness within the industry as to what ‘best practice’ looks like and what is acknowledged and rewarded with a view to raising overall standards.

find out more

The 2019 David Oppenheim Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Vic | Photographer: John Gollings
The 2019 National Award for Public Architecture | HOTA Outdoor Stage | ARM Architecture | Queensland | Photographer: John Gollings
Joynton Avenue Creative Centre and Precinct | Peter Stutchbury Architecture in association with Design 5 - Architects for City of Sydney | Photographer: Michael Nicholson
The 2019 Harry Seidler Award | Dangrove | Tzannes | NSW | Photographer: Ben Guthrie

Background

The 2019 David Oppenheim Award | Parliament of Victoria Members’ Annexe | Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design | Vic | Photographer: John Gollings

Purpose

Launched in July 2019, the Best in Practice Prize recognises excellence in practice, with a focus on the development of supportive and inclusive workplaces and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

To acknowledge non-project initiatives and successes in running a practice and contributing to the overall success and elevation of a positive workplace culture in Architecture.

To raise awareness within the industry as to what ‘best practice’ looks like and what is acknowledged and rewarded with a view to raising overall standards.

Prize

  • The opportunity to present on your practice’s culture at an Institute talk to advance industry best practice;
  • ‘Best practice’ organisational profile in the Architecture Bulletin.

Partner

The Best in Practice Prize is supported by Bespoke Careers.

Judging

Evaluation criteria

An exemplary and holistic workplace culture:

  • promotes and supports architects and designers
  • enables ongoing professional development and the promotion of a positive workplace culture
  • creates a diverse and inclusive environment
  • supports employee engagement and empowerment
  • applies progressive, innovative approaches for better cultural outcomes.

Continuity, communication and connection are key elements of a culture that attracts and retains talent, drives engagement, and positively impacts happiness, satisfaction and performance. The focus of the assessment of submissions will be how the practice has made a real difference in a tangible and authentic way through initiatives and innovations in continuity, communication and connection to create an outstanding culture that contributes to the advancement of the profession.
It is important that your submission provides a real sense of the culture of your practice.

Jury composition

  • NSW Chapter President or Past President
  • A representative nominated by Bespoke Careers
  • A representative of 2019 Prize Recipient
  • A member of the Practice Committee
  • An experienced HR professional
  • A member of EmAGN – representing the next generation of architects
  • Other advisers and industry influencers may be invited

2020 Jury

  • Carolyn Mitchell (Chair)
  • Brian Clohessy
  • Simon Rochowski
  • Fiona Martin
  • Krista Shearer
  • Phillip Nielsen
The 2019 National Award for Public Architecture | HOTA Outdoor Stage | ARM Architecture | Queensland | Photographer: John Gollings

How to enter

Joynton Avenue Creative Centre and Precinct | Peter Stutchbury Architecture in association with Design 5 - Architects for City of Sydney | Photographer: Michael Nicholson

Eligibility & conditions of entry

Entrants must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Practices must have a minimum of 5 full or part-time employees to enter
  • The practice must be a member of the Institute, either holding a current A+ membership or the principal/owner being a current member
  • The practice must meet its employer obligations under the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards, Architects Award + WHS Act

Entries will be judged in one of two categories based on the practice size:

  1. Small and medium practice (5-30 people)
  2. Large practice (31+ people)

Conditions of entry

By submitting an entry, practices agree to the information supplied being used for research and reporting in an unidentifiable way. This will take the form of a general industry ‘roundup’ report from responses provided. The intent of this is to share the innovations and initiatives shaping best practice and culture in architecture in NSW in support of improving workplaces and the profession more broadly.

Should your practice be selected as one of the category winners of the 2020 Best in Practice Prize, the practice agrees to provide a seminar/talk/presentation organised by the Australian Institute of Architects on the winning culture with a view to advancing industry best practice.

Key dates

Submissions for the 2020 Best in Practice Prize have closed.

Submission requirements

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges as well as opportunities for practices. This year’s prize will recognise practices who have risen to the occasion, demonstrating outstanding achievement in their culture in the areas of Continuity, Communication and Connection.  In each criterion please include how you have responded to the pandemic, and how the profession may benefit in sharing ideas in a time of crisis.

Contact

For more information regarding this prize, please email kat.han@architecture.com.au

2020 Best in Practice Prize Joint Winner

MHNDU

As 2020 comes to a close, much of our profession is reflecting on ‘practice’ and how quickly we changed to ensure work continuity and studio culture from home. MHNDU stood out in this year’s judging due to strategies established and implemented which ensured psychologically safe, flexible and supportive studio and Working From Home environments. 
 
In testament to a diverse, inclusive and empowered studio culture the practice held an in-house design competition that led to the foundation and opening of a profit for purpose café and gallery on the ground floor of the studio. For a social impact enterprise outside the typical realms of practice to be employee initiated, leadership supported, delivered and sustained this throughout 2020, showcasing the strength of MHNDU’s workplace culture.

Demonstrating its core practice values of creativity, generosity and respect, the studio has developed clear processes around pay equity, unconscious bias, and career progression, all contributing to the establishment of a workplace that values and supports its members.

Congratulations MHNDU.

MHNDU
MHNDU

2020 Best in Practice Prize Joint Winner

Carter Williamson

Carter Williamson is a demonstration that small practice can be a diverse and supportive workplace, at the same time as advancing and advocating for the profession. The studio shows leadership across multiple fields, including workplace culture, environmental sustainability, gender equity and social advocacy, through both its internal practices and external engagements.

Against a backdrop of the many challenges brought by 2020, the studio has developed genuine responses to support the physical and mental wellbeing of staff, whilst still providing career development pathways, flexible workplace arrangements, and education and training opportunities.

Showing that a positive workplace culture is about more than just written policies, Carter Williamson has developed a model of practice that has a positive influence on place, society and the profession on many levels, an approach which is to be celebrated and congratulated.

Congratulations Carter Williamson.

Carter Williamson
Carter Williamson

2020 Best in Practice Prize Commendation

Mirvac Design

Mirvac Design has shown that non-traditional practice structures are not a barrier to developing a positive and supportive workplace.

Leveraging its origins as a partnership between architect HPA and developer Mirvac, the practice has eschewed any assumptions of this model to demonstrate leadership in people and practice. In this way, Mirvac Design has utilised its knowledge from the corporate environment to develop a studio in which diversities of career path and working arrangements are not just accommodated, but encouraged – to the benefit of the practice and its members. With positive messaging and a ‘licence to be yourself’, advocated and practiced by the leadership, Mirvac Design has developed a high trust environment in the adverse conditions of 2020.

Prioritising safety, agility and engagement, whilst delivering with creative energy, has enabled continuity and productivity to remain high, maintaining wellbeing, flexibility and balance.

Congratulations Mirvac Design.

 

Mirvac Design
Mirvac Design

2019 Best in Practice Prize Winner

BVN

BVN stood out for their progressive approach to all aspects of workplace culture. BVN recognises that a diverse and inclusive environment supports engagement, empowerment and performance.
Leading by example is demonstrated at the most senior levels of the practice. Building on the model policy developed through Male Architects Champions of Change, the practice has developed integrated cultural and technological approaches that are open to all. These aim to reduce the guilt and stigma that is too often associated with flexible and part-time work by providing transparency and promoting a ‘redistributed hours’ approach that also helps improve work life balance.

2019 Best in Practice Prize winner | BVN | Photographer: Brett Boardman