MEET DR JOHN DOYLE, THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE AASA!

Sunday, 3 October 2021

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr John Doyle as the new President for the AASA, effective from 1 October 2021.

 

In this position, John will provide strategic leadership to the Association while working closely with the Executive to deliver a range of projects and initiatives. 

John is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Design Programs at RMIT University. He is the Program Manager and Head of the Master of Architecture program at RMIT. In addition, John is a practising architect and a director of COMMON, a Melbourne based architecture and urban planning practice. In the last decade, John has taught at numerous schools in Australia and internationally, including the University of Melbourne, Monash University and as a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  He was the co-curator, along with Graham Crist and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, of the 2019 Supertight exhibition at the Design Hub in Melbourne, and a key contributor to the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, 2019 The Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture and 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

 

The Executive is delighted to welcome John to his new role and looks forward to working with him. 

2021 AGM UPDATE

Sunday, 3 October 2021

The AASA AGM was held on 28 – 29 September 2021 via ZOOM this year. More than 50 school members and invited guests attended the two-day meeting.

    

2021 proves to be another challenging year for all member schools as coronavirus continues to cause havoc globally. While NSW, ACT, VIC and Auckland have seen a rise in new cases in July and August, we are also witnessing that Covid vaccines are working with hospitalisations and deaths among the adult population being more subdued this time around.  As the pace of vaccination in Australia and New Zealand is ramping up rapidly in recent weeks, it is feasible that our borders will open up in a more stable way than the travel bubble proved to be once we reach 70-80% vaccination uptake by the end of 2021.  

In the meantime, the AASA will continue to work collaboratively with our member schools and provide support where most needed.    

Considering the past 12 months, we are pleased to advise that the AASA has been undertaking the following activities:

 

Since November 2020, the AASA has been actively involved with Architectural Work Cultures: Professional Identity, Education and Wellbeing project with Professor Naomi Stead from Monash University.  To date, we have worked with Naomi and her team to develop the survey questionnaire and support the project by inviting her to host a workshop at the 2021 AASA AGM.  As Covid continues to cause a significant impact on our daily lives mentally, financially, and socially, it is critical that we keep abreast on this topic and consider the possibility of developing a national plan to mitigate the damage caused by COVID for the wellbeing of academics and students. 

We have completed the new AASA Website www.aasa-arch.org (led by Dr Yusef Patel and Dr Martha Liew).  The old website www.aasa.org.au has been decommissioned, but the domain aasa.org.au will remain ‘active’ as it is linked to the AASA’s Gmail accounts/drive.  The old domain will continue diverting traffic to the new website.

 

We have recently launched AASA Webinar Open Call (led by Dr Mohammed Makki) and the response has been very positive. To date, we have received four applicants wishing to present their research.  The first webinar series, 'Visualisation in Architecture and Beyond’ by Professor Andrew Johnston and Dr Linda Matthews (UTS), will explore the role that data visualisation operates in the architectural field and the lessons that can be learnt from the applications of visualisation in other disciplines. The series will be launched on 1st, 15th and 29th October 2021.

In the meantime, the Climate Action Working Group (led by Professor Chris Knapp) has proposed to conduct a series of workshops in November. We have also received a request from the University of Sydney and Griffith University.

The AASA’s Climate Action Working Group has recently commissioned Dr Liz Brodgen (QUT) to undertake a Climate Literacy Survey. The study will focus on (1) evaluation of the current implementation of sustainability, and climate change studies in architecture curricula, (2) confidence and satisfaction levels around the emerging area of learning and (3) beliefs held about the future of architectural education. The webinar series is part of Dr Brogden’s survey. It is anticipated that the report will be completed by 31 December 2021.

In addition to Dr Brodgen’s research, the AASA is excited to announce that the Australian Institute of Architects will contribute $10,000 towards the Climate Literacy Survey in response to the Profession’s increased demand for expertise in this area. The Institute considers the support of the project will provide the groundwork to tackle climate issues, such as a development of a curriculum framework or studio that prepare future architects for climate emergency. 

The AASA would like to take this opportunity to thank the Institute for their contribution to the project.

This year, the AASA is pleased to announce that the work of the Australian Modernism Working Group is gaining momentum. The group was established in 2018 under the leadership of the AASA’s Vice President, Professor Deborah Ascher-Barnstone, with the aim of creating a nationally available database on modern architecture in Australia and is guided by a Working Group consisting of academics from each state/territory who are working to collect a range of materials to be made available digitally on the AASA website. One of the tasks that the group has identified is the establishment of the Australian Modernism Archive. While COVID has prevented Australian Modernism Work Group members from meeting face to face annually, the group has commenced their research on Australian modernist architecture in Queensland (led by Dr Marja Sarvimaki, Bond University) and South Australia (led by Dr Julie Collins, University of South Australia).

The AASA is also pleased to advise that 2019 Digital Learning Research Grant winner Dr Rongrong Yu’s (along with Michael Ostwald, Ning Gu and Henry Skates) research on ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of Online Teaching in Architecture Courses' has been released in early 2021. This timely research uncovered some of the challenges associated with online teaching. In the meantime, Associate Professor Francesco Mancini, the 2020 Digital Learning Research Grant winner, continues with ‘Digital Urban Lab.’ This research project seeks to explore an innovative approach to Blended Design Studio by providing an experiential learning space to interstate students and academics where they could remotely participate in-studio sessions and multidisciplinary design review panels.  ‘Digital Urban Lab’ aims to facilitate learning through discovery in an augmented learning environment that simulates emerging future practices. It is anticipated that the study will be completed by the end of 2021.

As for the 2021 Digital Learning Research Grant (led by Steven Feast), an EOI will be launched after the AASA AGM.

In addition to the COVID crisis, the architectural profession is also facing increased challenges from the Federal/State regulators.  In early 2021, the AASA responded to the Victorian Government’s discussion paper Framework for Reform (led by Dr Chris Brisbin and Dr Martha Liew) The proposal recommended the Victorian Building Authority’s regulatory power be expanded and is currently considering the removal of the regulatory function of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV). As architectural education is part of the architects' registration components,  the AASA rejected the proposal and argued that the discussion paper overlooked the following points: (1) Omission of ARBV's critical role in architecture program accreditation and protection of the title "Architect"  (2) Lack of understanding of how architecture programs are accredited and how this accreditation process relates to procedures required for registration as an architect; (3) Lack of understanding on the robustness of architecture accreditation procedures and registration and how changes may impact on the profession’s reputation nationally and internationally. The discussion paper also failed to address their critical importance to ensuring quality building design. Finally, (4) Lack of consideration on the impact or ramifications on architectural education providers, students, and architects.

Around this time, the Federal Government is also exploring the possibility of granting Building Designers Level 1 Unlimited Design License in response to the lack of quality control over building design (notably the Opal Tower issue). Under the advice of the AACA, the AASA’s responded to the proposal and raised the following points to Federal, State/Territory Ministers and their oppositions: (1) Educational and Professional training of Building Designers is not equivalent to Architecture (2) Lack of understanding of how architecture programs are professionally accredited and how this accreditation process relates to procedures required for registration as an Architect by Law (3) Lack of understanding of the robustness of architecture accreditation procedures and registration and how proposed changes may impact on the profession’s reputation nationally and internationally. The discussion paper also failed to address their critical importance to ensuring quality building design. Finally (4) Lack of consideration on the impact or ramifications of proposed Building Designer license changes on architectural education providers, students, and Architects.

In terms of our engagement with allied organisations, we are pleased to advise that AASA (in particular, the Hon. Secretary Dr Tanja Glusac who participated in the review) has been working closely with the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) on the development of the new National Standards of Competency for Architects (NSCA) in the last 18 months. As the majority of our members are yet to familiarise themselves with new NSCA, we have invited the AACA’s new CEO Kathlyn Loseby and Manager of Accreditation and Evaluation Michelle Breen to take us through the new NSCA and discuss its transitional arrangement at the 2021 AGM.   

Also, we would like to inform members that Professor Sandra Kaji O’Grady will step down as the AASA’s representative on the AACA’s Accreditation Management Committee by the end of 2021, her position will be replaced by Associate Professor Chris Landorf (UQ) for a three-year term (2022 – 2024).

Administratively, we have completed the following tasks since the last AGM:

  • We welcomed Dr Chris Brisbin as the new Treasurer to join in the AASA Executive Team

  • In April, we have updated the AASA Bank account holder. Previously the account holders were Professor Chris Knapp, Dr Chris Smith and Dr Martha Liew. As of April 2021, Dr Chris Brisbin and Dr Martha Liew are the account holders of the AASA.

  • Completion of financial and audit reports for FY 21 (Dr Chris Brisbin and Dr Martha Liew)

  • Renewal of the ACSA membership for 2021 – 2022 (Dr Martha Liew)

  • Renewal of Parlour sponsorship ($10,000 per year for 3 years) over the period of FY 2022 – 2024 (Dr Martha Liew)

  • Appointment of Dr Tanja Glusac and Dr Martha Liew as co-secretary of the AASA

Unfortunately, the following projects were put on hold for one year:

  • AASA Education Prize for Early Career Academics (Prof Chris Knapp).

  • Identification of a new Indigenous education portfolio leader

We are pleased to announce that Dr John Doyle (RMIT University) has been appointed as the new President of the AASA for a two-year term (2021 – 2023).  Mr Peter McPherson (Unitec), who has been leading the AASA for more than five years, has officially stepped down from the position on 1 October 2021.  Under Peter’s leadership, the AASA has grown considerably, including the creation of several portfolios (Online Learning, Indigenous education, webinar series, Australian Modernism) and system (New AASA website) as well as building connection with other allied organisations (ADBED, Australian Institute of Architects and several program providers).  Although the education sector is facing increased challenges from COVID, the AASA has been able to operate effectively and relatively unscathed by the current volatile environment. Peter will remain as Immediate Past President of the AASA until October 2022.  Thank you, Peter, for your vision and leadership in steering the AASA in the right direction.  The Executive will miss working with you!

Finally, a big thank you to our members and invited guests who attended the AGM this year. These include Ms Kathlyn Loseby (CEO) and Ms Michelle Breen, Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA); Professor Martyn Hook (President), ADBED; Ms Lisa Moore (National Education Committee Chair) and Ms Erin Crowden (EmAGN Chair), Australian Institute of Architects (AIA); Ms Leanne Haider (President), Ms Nicole Mesquita-mendes and Ms Aiswarya Nair, SONA; Ms Sakina Ali and Mr Robbie Anderson, SANNZ; Professor Naomi Stead, Dr Byron Kinnaird, Dr Kirsten Orr, Dr Maryam Gusheh and Dr Julia Rodwell (Architects Wellbeing project) and Dr Liz Brogden, QUT (Climate Action). 

What a busy year! Thank you again for all your support of us during this challenging time.  With the rapid uptake of vaccines in recent months, we hope to see you all face to face at the next AGM in Perth!

2020 AGM UPDATE

Friday September 25, 2020

The AASA AGM was held on 22 – 23 September 2020. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct in Brisbane, however, due to COVID 19, the face to face meeting was replaced by virtual meeting via ZOOM. We had more than 30 member schools from Australia, and New Zealand attended the event.

Although the 2-day meeting only runs for three hours on each day, we managed to cover a number of topics, presentations and had two workshops organised. We started the day with our virtual host, Professor Lisa Scharoun from QUT welcoming attendees and gave a presentation on a range of activities undertaken by the school in the past 12 months, followed by a series of reporting, such as financial/audit reports, projects and initiatives that we are currently undertaking. Some of the projects that have been successfully delivered by the Executive and portfolio leaders include:

  • Building and refining new AASA Website via WIX with an aim to save maintenance cost. The current website will be decommissioned by the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021 (Dr Yusef Patel and Dr Martha Liew)

  • Implementation of Indigenous Archive (over 300 articles) in preparation for the new AASA website (Dr Martha Liew and Dr Yusef Patel).

  • Completion of the incorporation of the AASA in July. The AASA is officially registered in Victoria (Dr Martha Liew)

  • Finalisation of Articles of the Association. The new articles can be accessible via G Drive (Dr Tanja Glusac)

  • Completion of financial and audit reports for FY 20 (Prof Chris Knapp and Dr Martha Liew)

  • Addressing superannuation issues arising from the audit report (Executive)

  • Renewal of the ACSA membership for 2020 – 2021 (Dr Martha Liew)

  • Implementation of Digital Learning Research Grant 2020 (Steven Feast)

Also, we have participated in the following reviews and initiatives:

  • Review of the AASA’s NCSA discussion paper

  • Federal Government’s Job Ready Graduates Package

  • Monash University’s Architectural Work Cultures: Professional Identity, Education and Wellbeing

  • Supporting Griffith University and University of Queensland’s application to ARC Linkage Project (Smart Apps – a resource library for architects, town planner etc. with an aim to strengthen the connection between practitioners and researchers and cultivate research culture). 

In response to COVID 19, we have undertaken the following new initiatives:

  • Implementation of AASA Webinar Series in response to COVID 19 with curator
    Dr Mohammed Makki (5 webinars were conducted between April and June)

  • Implementation of 2020 AASA Student Logo Design Competition to engage our students (Dr Yusef Patel and Dr Martha Liew) and building of an online gallery (Dr Martha Liew)

Unfortunately, the following projects were put on hold for one year:

  • Pedagogy Portfolio – Australian Modernism (Prof Deborah Ascher-Barnstone)

  • AASA Education Prize for Early Career Academics (Prof Chris Knapp).

  • Identification of a new Indigenous education portfolio leader

 

In relation to the AASA membership, we have the following announcements:

  • AUT is officially an affiliate member of the AASA.

  • Charles Darwin University is no longer offering Bachelor of Architecture program. The school withdrew AASA membership in August 2020.

  • Potential members the University of Hong Kong and National Fuji University – we are unable to continue our pursuit with both schools due to COVID 19 and introduction of National Security Law in Hong Kong.

 

The AASA is also pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Chris Brisbin as the new Treasurer. Our current Treasurer, Professor Chris Knapp, who has been serving the AASA since 2014, will step down from his position after the AGM.

The AASA would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Professor Chris Knapp, who has been a key contributor to the AASA for more than six years in his role as Treasurer. During his tenure, we have seen significant improvement of AASA’s financial systems, including the delivery of audit reports dating back to 2013, finalisation of tax return, positive financial reports, business registrations and more. The change is significant for the association. Chris also instigated the connection with the ACSA and the Education Prize for Early Career Academics, and he always brings a thoughtful and constructive voice to proceedings. Thank you, Chris, for your leadership and dedication to the AASA!

Finally, the AASA would like to thanks our long-term collaborators, including Kate Doyle, CEO and Michelle Breen, Architects Accreditation Council of Australia; Professor Martyn Hook, President, ADBED; Lisa Moore, National Education Committee Chair, the Australian Institute of Architects and Sian Singh, SANNZ for their support to the AASA. We also like to thank Dr Rongrong Yu, Professor Francesco Mancini, Dr Mohammed Makki, Professor Naomi Stead, and Lyndsay Swan for their presentations and sharing their work with us.

Thank you for all your support of us during this challenging time. Let us look forward to 2021, hopefully, beginning to bring us more normality to how we do things. 

Peter McPherson

President, AASA