Welcome Catherine Townsend, new president of the AACA

24 October 2016

The ACA welcomes the appointment of Catherine Townsend as President of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia.

Canberra architect Catherine Townsend was been appointed President of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) at its Annual General Meeting on 21 October 2016.

The ACA is pleased to see an architect with wide-ranging experience in practice, government and representative bodies take on this important role. 

Townsend is principal of Townsend + Associates Architects, and was recently appointed as the new ACT Government Architect. Previous roles Catherine include being a member of the Building Regulatory Advisory Committee and of the 2003 Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, ajuror on the National Portrait Gallery Design Competition and advisor for the Canberra International Arboretum Design Competition. 

Townsend cites construction quality in Australia as of major significance.

“Regulation in the Australian construction industry is failing to protect the public interest. Repeated failures of building quality (particularly inmulti-residential housing) point to a regulatory system out of step withour time. With the spotlight now firmly on these systemic failures, the pressure is on regulatory and accreditation bodies to respond. The AACA continues to improve its quality assurance processes and develop new pathways toregistration based on the National Standard of Competency.”

She takes over as AACA President from Richard Thorp, whom she praised:

“I’d like to thank Richard for his leadership in a time of rebuilding the AACA and ensuring its relevance into the future. His considered stewardship and guidance through significant changes, including the head office relocation to Sydney, underpins the respected position the AACA now enjoys for its independence of practice and process.”

Justine Clark, co-founder of Parlour, says Townsend is an excellent appointment to this advocacy role.

“Catherine is a fine architect with a deep knowledge of the complexities of practice across arange of scales and contexts. As architecture continues to diversify and face newchallenges, it’s essential to have smart, strategic leaders like Catherine, who can see wherethe opportunities lie. Catherine is also the first woman President of the AACA and will be well positioned to continue the important moves made recently by the AACA to address a range of equity issues, and to open up pathways to registration for those with less linear career paths."