As our profession faces periods of challenge, disruption and enormous technological change, we turn to a diverse group of leaders, thinkers and reformers to share their views and perspectives on everything from research, fees and building quality, to architectural education, new models of practice and the future of the profession.


Wellbeing of Architects Symposium recap

20 May 2024

The Wellbeing of Architects Symposium on 8–9 May was a two-day event of rich layered discussions around mental wellbeing in architecture. Educator and practitioner Sarah Hobday-North did a brilliant job live-posting about the event. Here she offers a summary and some food for thought.

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Reflections on The Voice

3 September 2023

ACA NSW/ACT Committee member Stephen Pearse reflects on the upcoming referendum, outlining the direct connection between The Voice and Designing with and for Country, and the day to day lives of architects in practice.

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Making Space for Leadership

28 March 2023

Delegate, listen, be transparent, give feedback, step back and gain perspective, ACA NSW/ACT Committee member Michael Lewarne explores what good leadership might look like in practice.

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Future Histories – Archiving Digital Architectural Records

1 March 2023

Julie Collins, Curator at the University of South Australia’s Architecture Museum, has been calling for the preservation of architectural records throughout her career. Here she shares some important steps you can take to ensure future generations will have the opportunity to remember today’s architecture.

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Architects the Prisoners of Dilemma

10 March 2022

Michael Lewarne uses the Prisoner’s Dilemma to raise the issue of architects low balling fees and doing free work in order to win bids. What can be done to ensure architects value their work and reflect the true cost of projects when setting fees?

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Workplaces & COVID-19

10 September 2021

Orla Hegarty, Assistant Professor at University College Dublin, has been advocating and educating on the important issue of ventilation in buildings for the last 18 months. Here she shares some clear, simple advice and watchpoints.

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The Power of Vulnerability

29 July 2021

Being vulnerable is challenging but it’s often necessary to make change happen. Modelling vulnerability is the action of a leader, writes Michael Lewarne.

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Ventilation and COVID-19

5 July 2021

We’ve been slow to recognise that COVID-19 is airborne and poorly ventilated buildings are hazardous, particularly for vulnerable groups. Geoff Hanmer has been writing about the impacts of indoor air quality since early in the pandemic, and outlines some of his findings here.

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Architecture & Unbuilt Legacy

30 April 2021

Michael Lewarne challenges architects to reflect on the legacy they want to leave.

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Flexibility and Remote Working

8 March 2021

Many practices are at the crossroads of the hybrid working model, but how do we adapt to the new way of working? Fiona Martin reflects on the best way forward for practices big and small.

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Negotiating Government Tenders

28 February 2021

Architects must collectively resolve to stop accepting unfair or uninsurable contract terms, argues Laura Harding from Hills Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects.

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Architecture’s Gig Economy, COVID-19 & Building Resilience

10 August 2020

As the global pandemic hits architects hard, Peter Raisbeck proposes a few ideas about how to build professional resilience.

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Investment Needed in Civic Projects & Social Housing

15 July 2020

ACA - Vic/Tas President and FFPV Director Paul Viney reflects on his experiences with past and present economic downturns, the need for more government investment in civic projects and social housing, and the challenges of COVID-19 and remote working.

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Pulse Checks & the Construction Outlook

9 July 2020

If architecture is the canary in the coalmine, the outlook for construction is appalling, writes Geoff Hanmer.

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Running a Practice in Lockdown

1 June 2020

Warwick Mihaly shares the challenges of trying to run a small practice in lockdown while supervising remote learning with small children and keeping his business afloat.

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Leadership for Architects: 101

28 May 2020

Peter Raisbeck explores how ethical leadership and decision making are crucial in these uncertain times.

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How COVID-19 Will Change the Traditional Workplace

5 May 2020

What will be the impact of COVID-19 on the traditional workplace and what can we learn from this giant workplace experiment, writes Hames Sharley Principal and Workplace Portfolio Leader Stephen Moorcroft.

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Government Support and What Employers Can Do

25 March 2020

As we face a crisis of unknown proportions, Rob Peake, Principal of Management for Design, outlines what is needed from the Federal Government, and what architectural practices can do to weather the storm.

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International Men’s Day Reflections

19 November 2019

ACA CEO Angelina Pillai reflects on a week of inspirational panel discussions and events that will hopefully spur others on to further action.

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Fixing the Building Industry - A Wishlist

19 September 2019

With defect-prone apartment buildings in the spotlight, it’s clear that Australia’s apartment procurement system needs a serious redesign. Michael Smith highlights the state of play in the building industry, and lays out his wishlist of reforms.

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Consumer Confidence in the Title ‘Architect’

3 July 2019

ACA - WA Committee member Kate Fitzgerald discusses the growing trend for incorrect use of the title ‘Architect’ in an age of declining consumer confidence, and how the time is right to reclaim the title.

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How to Solve the Building Practitioner Insurance Crisis in Australia

2 July 2019

The PI insurance crisis is upon us - but how did it come to this? Senior Construction Lawyer Kim Lovegrove identifies the key challenges, and outlines his ideas for bringing the Australian building industry back from the brink.

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Putting People in the Picture

8 June 2019

Why are people largely absent from our architectural imagery? As a profession that designs and builds spaces for people, perhaps we need to be more conscious of including people in our floorplans and models, writes Fiona Young.

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Forget Design Quality, it’s all about Design Risk!

17 April 2019

Thinking about design risk in strategic terms is imperative for the profession, but it is often sidelined in practice, and is barely mentioned in architecture schools. Peter Raisbeck explores the concept of design risk.

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IWD Reflections

4 March 2019

As International Women's Day 2019 approaches, ACA CEO Angelina Pillai reflects on her upbringing, the importance of seeing strong women leaders in public life, and the need to push for basic human rights for all.

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Not Just a Matter of Good Design

26 February 2019

As architects, we should be selling our ability to realise a well-constructed, quality, safe building rather than focusing solely on design, argues Michael Lewarne.

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Defragging Procurement

20 February 2019

Current fragmented systems for procuring and delivering complex building projects are compromising the built outcome, to the detriment of the consumer, the public and the built environment professions. Stephen Pearse argues that the building procurement process needs a complete defrag.

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Don't Throttle Design Education

30 January 2019

Professor Tom Kvan argues the case for broad access to a design-based education and points out the profound societal benefits it brings.

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Bring Back the Clerk of Works

17 January 2019

In the wake of the Opal Tower debacle, Michael Hegarty explores the role of the Clerk of Works, and the need to return this key project role to Australian construction sites.

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Tips for Maternity Leave

4 December 2018

Sarah Lebner reviews her experience of preparing for maternity leave while balancing her responsibilities as a principal architect.

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Rethinking Culture, Communication and Boundaries

5 November 2018

Michael Lewarne offers prognostications and provocations about cultural change and leadership in the architecture profession.

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Future Practice? Conversations from the heart (of architecture)

17 August 2018

What would Macquarie and Greenway say? Sean Godsell reflects on the state of the profession.

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New Business Models

24 June 2018

Jennifer Crawford argues that the question of fees is really a question of business models. Architects need to work out what their ‘super power’ is, and charge accordingly.

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Is Regulation the Answer to Fee Madness?

20 June 2018

Is reintroducing fee scales and further regulation the solution to fee slashing and ‘the race for the bottom’ among architects? Is this really feasible in a world of increasing globalisation and diversification of service providers? Ceilidh Higgins considers other options.

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Addressing Architecture’s Wicked Problems through Affordances

20 June 2018

Fiona Young argues that we need to understand briefing as a key part of the architect's role, develop a common understanding with clients to ensure the best outcome, and charge fees accordingly.

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Fee Redemption: A mutually assured future

19 June 2018

The conversation about fees is taking off across social media. John Held argues that many of the contemporary problems facing architects derive from unpriced risk, and that nationwide research and smarter business practices are part of the solution.

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We Need to Stop Innovating in Indigenous Housing and get on with Closing the Gap

11 June 2018

Kieran Wong argues that the National Indigenous Housing Guide must be mandated by law to ensure the best housing outcomes for Indigenous communities.

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Can Design Deliver Positive Economic Outcomes?

11 May 2018

Broadening the procurement process to consider the value of good design brings economic benefits to the state, argues SA Industry Advocate Ian Nightingale.

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Step Up, Don’t Step Back

13 July 2017

John Held argues that stepping up to the small stuff is also the path to improving the profession's wider role in society.

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Part of the Territory? A response from the ACA

20 March 2017

Poor workplace cultures and conditions are bad for everyone - employee, employer and the wider profession. David Wagner responds to one recent account.

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Go Hard or Go Home!

20 March 2017

Lee Hillam reflects on the long-hours culture in architecture.

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Research in Practice

14 March 2017

John Held reflects on conjunctions of research and practice in a talk presented at the Australian Institute of Architects Flipped Forum, which asked ‘Can practice lead research?’

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Wanted: More women at the top

8 March 2017

Women make great leaders, but a seat at the top table is often elusive. Emma Williamson explores the obstacles women face on the road to the top.

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The ACA and the Institute - Distinct but Complementary

16 February 2017

An interview with ACA - WA President Kieran Wong about the ACA and potential collaborations with the Institute of Architects.

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Knowledge Futures: Future Proofing the Architectural Firm.

10 November 2016

Do we want a downstream future or an upstream one? The choice is ours, and the consequences are far-reaching. Peter Raisbeck outlines two scenarios.

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Ensuring Australia's future in BIM

14 October 2016

It's essential that Australia has a consistent approach towards BIM implementation, ensuring its future growth can support international opportunities, argues Rebecca De Cicco.

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Architecture and Design Fees: Why Hourly Rates?

8 October 2016

The value of a company today is based on ideas rather than assets or staff numbers, so why do architects still charge by the hour? Ceilidh Higgins explores the possibilities for non-traditional fee structures.

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Where to from here: A promising outlook

15 June 2016

A rapidly changing profession brings fresh opportunities for flexibility and specialisation, says emerging architect Emily Chalk.

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Where to From Here: Clients Drive Collaboration and Consolidation

8 June 2016

Michael Hegarty reflects on the rise of the integrated architecture and engineering practice, arguing that we need to reframe design as process that is essential to client needs.

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Where to From Here: It's Not Even Architecture

19 May 2016

As young practitioners and thinkers deeply invested in our profession's future, Jenna Holder and Athanasios Lazarou consider the issues and make a strong call for collective action. Part of the ACA's Where to From Here series, which invites reflections on the recent ACA SA State of the Profession research.

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Where to From Here? The View From an Emerging Practice

19 May 2016

Sonia Sarangi and Michael Smith of Atelier Red and Black argue that we need to understand and 'own' the changes facing the profession, to help make them work for rather than against us.

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Going Global

22 October 2015

The demand for architectural services in the developing world is continuing to grow. Leone Lorrimer considers how Australian architects can make the most of offshore opportunities, and gives the government some pointers on how to help.

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BIM - the Architects' Trojan Horse

17 September 2015

Peter Barda argues that BIM offers a way for architects to regain their role as trusted advisor.

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Public Private Partnerships For Procurement

13 April 2015

PPP projects do not always deliver all that is claimed - and architects rarely benefit. Ann Gorey reflects on the perceived advantages, claimed benefits and actual costs of this common procurement method.

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The Gap Between Authority and Expertise - BIM and Government Procurement

12 April 2015

John Held reflects on the importance of the educated government client and architects who have a sophisticated understanding of the client organisation.

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A Changing Profession

9 February 2015

All professions grow, mature and change - Susan Shannon draws on her extensive body of research to reflect on registration and the shifting shape of the profession.

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Ten Challenges / Ten Actions

15 December 2014

Leone Lorrimer outlines ten challenges facing architecture and ten actions we can take to turn these challenges into opportunities.

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Wanted! Business-savvy archi-preneurs

15 December 2014

Reflecting on the opportunities ahead, Jane Cameron argues that we need to explore different modes of practice and new ways to recognise competance, and to design new business models.

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Deskilling and Reskilling

21 November 2014

John Held reflects on deskilling and reskilling in the profession. Have architects lost the role of ‘trusted advisor’? What do low registration rates mean and what skills do we need to be effective in the future?

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What Makes a City?

10 November 2014

The Hon Dominic Perrottet MP, NSW Minister for Finance and Services, launched the Sydney Architecture Festival with an impressive speech about the role of architects in the making of innovative cities.

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Architecture and Journalism - not so different after all

5 November 2014

Michael Bleby reflects on architecture and journalism.

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Design - Does it need a Policy?

21 August 2014

How do we ensure the community reaps the benefits of a well-designed built environment? Peter Barda considers what types of policy might be effective.

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Supporting Working Parents

5 August 2014

What does the recent Human Rights Commission report mean for architectural businesses?

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To Work or Not to Work? The Part-time Question

12 November 2013

Melonie Bayl-Smith argues that flexible work arrangements may be the best option for an architectural practice to retain its corporate knowledge and for the profession to retain its talent.

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The ACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters of Australia.