CEO Update – April 2021

Angelina Pillai , 9 April 2021

I am pleased to be working with our new national executive team who are already leading the ACA’s strategic agenda. Having recently met as a committee over a two-day intensive online session, we have committed to continuing to strengthen our voice on matters that impact the profession, build on the existing member benefits, engage in strategic partnerships, contribute to meaningful research, identify new benefits for our members, prioritise the importance of wellbeing, and update our compliance on governance matters.

Strategic Partnerships

We are delighted to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ArchiTeam. The MoU has been under discussion since last year to clarify how our two organisations fit together in the industry and how we may be able to work better together for our members to create maximum participation and benefit, without compromising the integrity and standing of our individual charters. One of these is to ensure a more seamless coordination of our events calendars and the offer of discounts for select CPD events. Check out the ACA member offer to the ArchiTeam national conference.

Pulse Check 5

With JobKeeper ending, the ACA is keen to find out how this will impact practices and where we can lend our support. To that end, the ACA pulse check survey will be back. These surveys proved to be a very important source of data for us last year with well over a thousand practices responding. We hope to attract the similar response rates and will work hard to address them in a timely manner. Look out for this in your inboxes very soon.

Recognition of Professional Services

For the second year running, the ACA has partnered with beaton on the Client Choice Awards, which celebrates excellence and thought leadership in professional services. Congratulations to ACA members ArtMade Architects on being named the winner of the Best Built & Natural Environment Consulting Firm (<$30m revenue).


The Australian Architects Mental Wellbeing Forums are now up and running across the country with the launch in South Australia and Western Australia last month. At a national level, our priority will be to assess the key issues facing the profession, existing resources available and how the ACA can assist with facilitating support. The ACA Pulse Check will also serve as a vehicle to elicit feedback from architects so our support can be targeted and relevant.

Still on the wellbeing agenda, the ACA continues to support Monash University’s research project, Architectural Work Cultures: professional identity, education and wellbeing led by Naomi Stead and Maryam Gusheh. One of the outputs of the project is to generate the first comprehensive account of work-related wellbeing problems for both architectural practitioners and students, through strong engagement with the profession.

Social Housing

As part of Melbourne Design Week, the ACA was excited to partner with ArchiPitch 2021, tackling the important topic of social housing. The ‘shark tank for architects’ event, spearheaded by Verity Campbell, was a resounding success, as seven practices live-pitched their big and bold ideas to social housing sector leaders at the cusp of Victoria’s A$5.4 billion ‘Big Housing Build’. Each practice highlighted the dire state of our nation’s social housing and provided insights into how each one of us can be part of the solution. One question that resonated with me was when a pitcher asked a powerful question – “would you want to live here?”. For more detailed information of this event, head to the recap.

Design Matters

Over in Western Australia, the WA branch, under the leadership of Kate Fitzgerald and the committee, presented a special Medium Density Symposium on 31 March in collaboration with Open House Perth (OHP).

Following the release of the draft Medium Density Code by the WA State Government, this special edition of OHP’s ongoing ‘Design Matters’ series brought together representatives from government, architecture and design, planning and the development industry to present a united vision for Perth’s future density. Another huge success to report. See the recap here.

President’s Comment

A couple of weeks ago, National President John Held commented on a number of timely issues, from the Lacrosse appeal decision, the mutual recognition amendment bill, the culture of our industry, and ACA’s representation on the Architects’ Accreditation Council of Australia’s current project. If you missed his recent piece, you can catch up on it here.

Get Involved

For other professionals and the general public to understand the value and impact of this profession in their lives now and in the future, we need to amplify the message of the value of architecture to a national, broader audience. The ACA is mandated to support and advocate on behalf of architectural practices, so the larger our membership base, the stronger and more credible our voice we will be… Find out more about joining the ACA and getting involved.