2018 Gold Medal Tour: Adaptive architecture – exploring the ethics of design

2018 Gold Medal Tour: Adaptive architecture – exploring the ethics of design

The Australian Institute of Architects’ 2018 Gold Medallist, Alec Tzannes, commences his national architecture speaking tour in Darwin on 16 August, with a conversation around the nature of architecture and its often-underestimated benefits for Australian cities and towns.

Tzannes will explore themes that influence contemporary design thinking and language, the way we work, and the role of architecture in community. He will invite discussion about how, as architects, we can be at the forefront of shaping a new aesthetic – one that takes on the challenge of being better recognised by the broader community as ethical and trusted stewards of the design of the built environment.

The renowned Sydney architect, academic and founder of Tzannes architecture, is acknowledged for designing some of Australia’s most iconic contemporary buildings.

Earlier this year, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to architecture and education, Tzannes was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour, the 2018 Gold Medal.

Now, he will embark on a trip around the country for the 2018 Gold Medal Tour supported by Principal Corporate Partner BlueScope, speaking about what inspires him and drives his passion for design. Tzannes’ talks will reflect on his firm’s body of work exploring themes that emerge and their relevance to the future of architecture. He invites architects around the country to put forward their views in discussions that will follow each of his presentations. His final tour date is the AS Hook Address in Sydney on 24 October in which he will consolidate his views on architecture adding to the archive of ideas recorded from previous recipients of this honour.

‘Architecture is an expressive medium. It also is central to delivering a more sustainable, liveable urban environment to secure Australia’s future from social and economic perspectives. Good design is far more valuable than is commonly understood as the value proposition is inter-generational and hard to imagine with certainty in the creation process,’ Tzannes said.

‘A deeper discussion of what we design and why, and how we design, and for whom, is something I see as important as we face new challenges within the profession and in the world we can influence. I’m keen to use the Gold Medal Tour as an opportunity to seek a wide range of views on this theme to explore the role and contribution of the profession in the broader community.’

Some of Tzannes’ most recognisable Sydney projects include the Federation Pavilion at Centennial Park, Cathy Freeman Park at Homebush, the Brewery Yard at Central Park and urban furniture for the City of Sydney.

Recent work includes International House Sydney in Barangaroo and Dangrove, a state-of-the-art museum storage, research, education and private exhibition facility in Alexandria for Judith Neilson.

Tzannes is Chair of the Australian Institute of Architects Foundation, a member of the UNSW Foundation Board of Directors and served as the dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of New South Wales from 2008 to 2016.

In 2014, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to architecture, as a practitioner and educator and through professional organisations.

Awarded since 1960, the Gold Medal recognises distinguished service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, produced work of great distinction resulting in the advancement of architecture or endowed the profession of architecture in a distinguished manner. The citation for Tzannes stated that he has excelled in each of these areas of assessment. Previous recipients include Jørn Utzon, Romaldo Giurgola, Brit Andresen, Harry Seidler and Robin Boyd.


2018 Gold Medal Tour dates

Darwin – Thursday 16 August
Canberra – Thursday 30 August
Hobart – Wednesday 5 September
Melbourne – Wednesday 12 September
Adelaide – Thursday 13 September
Brisbane – Thursday 4 October
Perth – Thursday 18 October
Sydney – Wednesday 24 October


To register visit the Institute’s National Events web page.