AACA Director Catherine Townsend appointed as ACT Government Architect

New Government Architect brings valuable local knowledge to position

Media Release: 31 August 2016

The ACT has a new Government Architect following the appointment of Catherine Townsend, Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said today.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Catherine Townsend of Townsend + Associates Architects (T+AA) to the position of ACT Government Architect.

“Catherine brings a wealth of local expertise in roles such as the Director of the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, Chair of ACT Board of Architects, and as a member of the Building Regulatory Advisory Committee, as well as being recognised as a highly competent architect.” Minister Gentleman said.

The role of the Government Architect is to provide independent design advice to the ACT Government on architecture, urban design, planning and procurement. Advice from the Government Architect may be sought on major government projects or private proposals.

Catherine attained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Design from the University of Canberra in 1980 before going on to study Architecture at the University of Sydney where she graduated in 1984.

“As a young architect Catherine worked for Mitchell Giurgola & Thorp Architects and Peter Freeman & Partners Architects and Planners during the 1980’s before establishing the Canberra based firm
Townsend + Associates Architects in 1993 with her partner Bruce Townsend.

“Through her work at T+AA Catherine attained an impressive list of industry awards and has contributed to a number of important advisory groups and tribunals such as 2003 Bushfire Recovery Taskforce, juror on the National Portrait Gallery Design Competition and Advisor for the Canberra International Arboretum Design Competition.

“Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised countries, and Canberra is not alone in seeking better ways to nurture our physical environment: both natural and built. I am excited to work with the ACT Government to focus on improving quality of life through good design.” Ms. Townsend said.
Minister Gentleman said the ACT’s first Government Architect Professor Alastair Swayn submitted his resignation earlier this year due to ill health and sadly passed away earlier this month.

“I would like to again recognise Alastair’s valuable contribution to design quality in the development of our city during his five years of tenure.
“Independent, highly qualified professional advice to government remains a vital part of the ACT Planning Strategy and will continue to contribute to the development of our great city,” Minister Gentleman concluded.

Statement ends

Media contacts: Hayden McGirr T (02) 6207 4596 M 0434 860 282 [email protected] 

AACA is Moving to Sydney

AACA’s office has now moved from Canberra to Sydney.

Our new postal address is:
PO Box A2575

Courier deliveries to:
Suite 3, Level 5
75 Castlereagh Street

Are you an Overseas Architect?

With the agreement of the state and territory architect registration boards around Australia the AACA has developed the Overseas Architect Assessment Program which provides a FastTrack to registration for appropriately experienced overseas architects who are not eligible to apply for registration under our existing mutual recognition arrangements. Previously, all overseas architects firstly had to apply for their architectural qualifications to be assessed as comparable to an Australian qualification, then sit the Architectural Practice Exam before being able to apply for registration as an architect in Australia. The Overseas Architects Assessment Program means that for architects who have the appropriate experience benchmarked against the relevant performance criteria in the National Standard of Competency for Architects and demonstrated through complex projects, there is now only one assessment process to be completed before applying for registration as an architect in the state or territory where they reside. Guidance and application forms can be found here.

Architecture, Design and Better Cities

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has put cities back on the agenda by declaring urban planning a matter of ‘quality of life’. One of Mr Turnbull’s first acts as Prime Minister was to create a new cabinet position of Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. What makes a good city? Why does great architecture matter? Paul Barclay discusses this with art expert and Griffin lecturer Edmond Capon as well as a developer, an architect and an academic. Recorded at the National Press Club Canberra. Broadcast 8pm 16 November 2015, or Listen Here.

The revised National Standard of Competency for Architects is now available in on- line format.

The National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) is the overarching document that establishes the Standard for architectural education and assessment of professional competency prior to registration as an Architect in Australia.
The Standard describes what is reasonably expected of a person who can demonstrate the standard of skill, care and diligence widely accepted in Australia as a competent professional Architectural practitioner. It comprises 70 individual Performance Criteria, which are grouped into Elements and Units of Competency and underpinned by 5 Knowledge Domains.

The Standard applies to the accreditation of Australian university programs, Overseas Qualifications Assessment, http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/about/overseas-qualifications-assessment,
the National Program of Assessment http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/about/national-program-of-assessment,
the Architectural Practice Examination http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/about/architectural-practice-exam,
and the Assessment of Overseas Registered Architects. http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/about/assessment-of-overseas-registered-architects

See here for more information http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/library/page/document/nsca_overview.pdf, and go here to create your personalised version of the Standard. http://competencystandardforarchitects.aaca.org.au/matrix

The 2015 edition of the Standard is currently being used in the Overseas Qualification Assessments and the National Program of Recognition. Information about the transition to using the 2015 Standard as the basis for part 1 of the APE will be available by 16 November 2015.

National Recognition of Architects’ Registration

One step closer! The Productivity Commission’s Review into Mutual Recognition Schemes published on 25 September 2015 recommends that State and Territory Governments should make the legislative changes necessary to implement the proposed National Recognition of Architects’ Registration scheme. See here for the full report. http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/mutual-recognition-schemes/report

CLOSING DATE for Stage 2 Overseas Qualifications Assessment for 2015

To complete the first session of the Architectural Practice Examination (APE) in 2016 you must finalise your Stage 2 Overseas Qualifications Assessment by Friday 30th October 2015. Application for Stage 2 is open to those who have undertaken an AACA Stage 1 Provisional Assessment. Please note a successful outcome in the Provisional Assessment process is not required to apply for Stage 2. You must be a resident in Australia to apply for Stage 2. Stage 2 requires you to demonstrate that you meet specified Elements of the National Competency Standard for Architects (NCSA) through a Portfolio of projects that can be a: • Student Portfolio OR • Professional Portfolio OR • Combined Student and Professional Portfolio. And a short interview held in your State or Territory. Please take a close look at the Guidance material for the Portfolio and ensure you address the competency elements matrix in format outlined-In order to provide concise portfolio please ensure the portfolio is focused on the competencies. If you are considering sitting the Architectural Practice Exam for registration next year – please refer to the your State or Territory Registration Board websites for times of the exams noting there is an earlier lodgement date for the Logbook. If you have any questions about the program please contact our office on 02 6230 0506.

This Week

Applications now open for 2015 NPRA Stage 1 Eligibility applications for this years NPRA are now open. Please find the 2-Part Application Form on the Forms & Fees page of our website. Have you got an overseas qualification and want to get registered? See our Overseas Qualificaitons Assessment page for more information. New research on the architectural profession in Australia The AACA study provides a detailed benchmarking comparison of requirements in each jurisdiction, viewable through a customisable online matrix on the website. A new profile of the Australian architectural sector is also downloadable as a companion document to the study. Please view findings at: comparison.aaca.org.au

National Galaxy Poll: The Benefit of Design

Key findings released from a national Galaxy poll commissioned to gauge the Australian community’s views on the benefits of good design for public buildings and public spaces; and the importance of involving qualified and experienced designers in public buildings

97% of Australians believe that cities and towns are better to live in when public buildings and public spaces are well designed. 99% say that it is important to invest in the good design of hospitals and schools. 93% of Australians agree that ‘having a qualified and experienced designer involved from start to finish [public buildings and residential apartments] would result in fewer defects than if left to the builder alone’ Australians believed all of the following design principles were important factors to be properly considered in the design of residential buildings: • New buildings should use green/conservation principles such as minimising power use, recycling water, and maximising use of natural light (79%) • Proposed building size takes into account the impact on local infrastructure such public transport, community facilities and traffic density (78) • The new building considers the benefits to both residents and neighbours (77%) • The size of the building should suit the scale of the street and surrounding buildings (76%) • The new building contributes to the character of the streetscape and local area (74%) • The building optimises safety and security and clearly defines public and private spaces (73%) When asked whether it would be good if explicitly agreed design quality principles for apartment buildings were implemented in their state, 49% of Australians say that it ‘definitely’ would be good, and a further 45% say that it ‘probably’ would be good. Only 6% say that it is not needed. If an apartment building was to be built in their area almost everyone (97%) would want the principles of design quality to be professionally considered and implemented in the design of the new building. The survey by Galaxy Research commissioned by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia included a national sample of 2593 Australians aged 18-64 years across all State and Territories weighted to latest ABS population estimates. The full Report is available here. For media comment: Kate Doyle, CEO 0400 564 936 The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) is a not for profit company owned by the State and Territory architect registration boards. It is the national organisation responsible for coordinating and facilitating national standards for the registration of architects in Australia.


Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Suite 3, Level 5
75 Castlereagh Street

PO Box A2575

(612) 8042 8930
[email protected]

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