Architecture’s leaders honoured with national accolades

Architecture’s leaders honoured with national accolades

Leaders of the profession, from esteemed practitioners to architectural students, have been honoured with the awarding of six national prizes from the Australian Institute of Architects, announced at the profession’s largest gathering, the 2018 National Architecture Conference.

The highest honour, the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, was awarded to Sydney practitioner Emeritus Professor Alec Tzannes AM. Tzannes was recognised for his exceptional body of work across a broad spectrum of architectural practice and his exemplary service and leadership within the profession, academia and related fields. Read more about the 2018 Gold Medallist here.

Professor Rob Adams AM, Director of City Design for the City of Melbourne, received the National President’s Prize. Immediate Past President Richard Kirk selected Adams in recognition of his sheer dedication and skill over a thirty-year career with the City of Melbourne that has made Melbourne one of the world’s greatest cities.

‘The City Design team, under Rob’s leadership, has crafted a vision for the City of Melbourne where the public realm is championed. As an advocate for the city, Rob has made one of the greatest contributions to the profession – he has demonstrated that design can be an essential part of the process of how we make our cities.

‘If only every Australian city had a Rob Adams, we might see more of our cities being recognised as the best,’ Kirk said.

The Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize was awarded to Melonie Bayl-Smith, Founder and Director of Bijl Architecture in Sydney. The jury acknowledged Bayl-Smith as an ‘exemplary leader for the architecture profession’ noting ‘her leadership in gender equity is particularly evident through her mentoring, advocacy and acting as an exceptional role model for many students, graduates and emerging architects’.

Bayl-Smith has been involved with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) since 2005, where she has been an active contributor through mentoring. In 2010 she received the NAWIC International Women’s Day travelling scholarship for her BuildAbility research project, which investigated the future of construction education across Australasia and on an international basis.

Queensland emerging practitioner Christina Cho received the National Emerging Architect Prize. A director at Cox Architecture, Cho’s professional accolades are extensive and include finalist in the AFR BOSS Young Executives 2018, and the 2011 Dulux Study Tour.

‘She has dedicated herself wholly to the profession and tirelessly provides leadership through her affiliations with the UQ School of Architecture Advisory Board, the Institute’s Queensland Chapter Council, National Trust QLD and the Property Industry Foundation. She is a leader and a role model for graduates of architecture. Her achievements and dedication to the profession have influenced and nourished her immediate and wider community’, the jury noted.

Renowned Singaporean architect, Dr Liu Thai Ker was honoured with the William J Mitchell International Chapter Prize, awarded in recognition of significant contribution by an Australia-linked practitioner to architecture globally.

Considered the ‘architect of modern Singapore’, Dr Liu was born in Malaysia, but grew up and practises in Singapore ‘where he was influential in the conceptualisation and implementation of the urban structure and landscape the city-state’. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of New South Wales in 1962 and was later awarded an honorary Doctorate (1995) from UNSW.

‘In the last 25 years, Dr Liu has served as a planning advisor for many municipal governments in China, and master planned more than 30 cities worldwide. His approach is “scientific” with an emphasis on evidence-based provisioning of basic amenities, transport and accommodation but an aspiration to thus enable intellectual and cultural life,’ the jury said.

Troy Borg of RMIT University received the Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture. Borg, who is completing his Bachelor of Architecture, is the current national president of the Institute’s Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA). The jury were impressed by Borg’s dedication and passion for giving back to the student body.

‘Troy is passionate about equality and shows care and respect for everyone he meets. He has organised a number of events…while the content of these events has varied greatly, the underlying message has been to break down barriers between people and facilitate community.

‘Troy embodies values that speak well to architecture’s future – generosity, leadership and inclusiveness,’ the jury noted.

Former SONA President and graduate of architecture, Paul Violett was recognised with the Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture – Commendation.

Five emerging architects – Kim Bridgland, Leah Gallagher, Jason Licht, Joseph O’Meara, Dirk Yates – announced earlier in the year, were selected for the sought-after Dulux Study Tour. The recipients participated in a ten-day tour visiting Milan, London and Berlin in May.


Full list of winners:

Gold Medal
Alec Tzannes AM LFRAIA – Tzannes (NSW)

National President’s Prize
Professor Rob Adams AM LFRAIA – City of Melbourne (Vic)

Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize
Melonie Bayl-Smith FRAIA – Bijl Architecture (NSW)

National Emerging Architect Prize
Christina Na-Heon Cho RAIA – Cox Architecture (Qld)

William J Mitchell International Chapter Prize
Dr Liu Thai Ker FRAIA – Morrow (Singapore)

Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture
Troy Borg – RMIT (Vic)

Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture – Commendation
Paul Violett – University of Queensland (Qld)

Dulux Study Tour
Kim Bridgland RAIA – Edition Office (Vic)
Leah Gallagher RAIA – Kin Architects (Qld)
Jason Licht RAIA – Cumulus Studio (Tas)
Joseph O’Meara RAIA – BVN (NSW)
Dirk Yates RAIA – Speculative Architecture (Qld)