CEO Update – October 2022
As a non-architect, I have always been captivated by the wonders and purpose of architecture in shaping our communities, identities, values, beliefs and sense of belonging in the world. These reflections were motivated by a recent visit to the South Australian University Architectural Museum, where curator Dr Julie Collins generously gave the ACA’s National Executive Committee a special behind-the-scenes tour. We viewed original architectural drawings, photographs, research reports, books, magazines, journals, trade literature and, my personal favourite, beautifully hand-written letters from renowned South Australian architects who toured the world, learning from the innovative and imaginative designs that provided inspiration for the South Australian built culture of the 1900s. This was particularly special for me, as Adelaide was where I ‘landed’ when I first came to Australia as an international student over three decades ago. I remember being in awe of the beauty, functionality, significance and value of the city’s buildings, including breathtakingly designed churches.
However, it is this very value of architecture that is often overlooked or misunderstood by many consumers and procurers of architectural services. In fact, the Wellbeing of Architects national research project points to the lack of recognition of the value of architecture as one of the major issues impacting the wellbeing of the profession. The perceived undervaluing of architecture is not just limited to allied professions in the built environment, but by the community more generally. The research also points to a strong correlation between what is perceived to be the societal under-valuing of architectural design, and corresponding financial investment, particularly in fees – the fees that architects charge, and the fees that others are willing to pay. The ACA has long tackled the issue of fees and very soon we will be rolling out our series of online events and editorials dedicated to fees (more information to come). In the meantime, ACA members can also use the ACA Time/Cost Calculator to help inform fee proposals by assessing the time and costs involved for your practice to provide an appropriate level of service for a range of building types.
On the important topic of wellbeing, as we recognise World Mental Health Week, we acknowledge the drivers of wellbeing and how/where we need to focus our energies. At the ACA, we made a firm commitment to assist our members to build positive workplaces and shine the spotlight on wellbeing issues through our work with the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum. Over the course of the week, we will be revisiting the eight chapters of the Australian Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit through our Instagram account, and will continue to promote the advice and themes of the Toolkit through a national online series starting next month.
In other news, the ACA is delighted to welcome a new national principal partner on board, Assa Abloy, who has supported our QLD/NT branch for a number of years. We are also thrilled to have the support of the Built Environment Channel who have recently launched DesignAtlas, helping architects search interesting global projects, industry news, products and design resources as featured on their screens.