Friday 8 September 2023
8.30 am – 5.00 pm (AEST)


Clarendon Auditorium, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
2 Clarendon Street
South Wharf Melbourne Vic 3006
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Ticket sales for this event are closed.

Program Info

Architecture plays a powerful role in defining and advocating for a position, a place, a landscape that consciously engages with “giving” to build a robust structure to support people and society. Historically, we can understand this through “civic” design typologies – the library, the law court, the town hall, the city square, the memorial or the cemetery. 

Today, civic design is much more than these formal structures. Professionals and clients are looking to address socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes. Tendering and procurement processes are becoming more accountable. Publicly accessible spaces, from the plaza to the shared path, have gained a new significance.

We are interested in projects that consciously contribute to the evolution of architecture and, more importantly, support the evolution of society. These are generous acts of design that go beyond the formal architectural brief. This symposium explores our industry’s responsibility to community through built outcomes – how has it changed and how can we further challenge the status quo?


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Supporting Partners

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Earn CPD Points

Download CPD Questions and Learning Outcomes

CPD Questions – The Architecture Symposium: Acts of Generosity


Sophia Buckle

Event Coordinator Header Image Bondi Pavilion by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. Photography by Brett Boardman.


  • 8.30 am Delegate arrival
  • 9.00 am Welcome to Country
  • 9.05 am Introduction
    Katelin Butler and Georgia Birks, Architecture Media
  • 9.10 am Opening comments
    Guest curators Amy Muir (Muir) and Rachel Neeson (Neeson Murcutt and Neille)
  • 9.30 am Urban Civic
    Jocelyn Chiew, City of Melbourne
    (Urban Civic Projects, Vic)

    Bridget Smyth, City of Sydney
    (George Street pedestrianization, NSW)
  • 10.00 am Civic Identity
    Kevin O’Brien, BVN
    (Yarrila Place, NSW)

    Nicholas Braun, Sibling Architecture
    (Darebin Intercultural Centre, Vic)
  • 10.30 am Morning tea
  • 11.00 am Civic Memory
    Kerstin Thompson, Kerstin Thompson Architects
    (Jewish Holocaust Museum, Vic)

    Mat Hinds, Taylor and Hinds Architects, and Rebecca Digney, Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania
    (Truth-Telling at Wybalenna, lutruwita / Tas)
  • 11.30 am Surgical Civic
    Challis Smedley, Challis Smedley Architect, on behalf of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
    (Bondi Pavilion, NSW)

    Aaron Peters, Vokes and Peters
    (Nambucca Heads Library Extension, NSW)
  • 12.00 pm Campus to City
    James Loder, Wardle
    (Inveresk Precinct: The University of Tasmania, Tas)

    Simone Bliss, SBLA Studio
    (Bendigo TAFE revitalisation, Vic)
  • 12.30 pm Small Civic
    Sonia van de Haar, Lymesmith
    (Parramatta activations, NSW)

    Annabel Lahz, Lahznimmo Architects
    (Mahon Pool Amenities, NSW)
  • 1.00 pm Lunch
  • 2.00 pm Groundwork
    Ross Harding, Finding Infinity
    (A New Normal, Vic)

    Emma Williamson, The Fulcrum Agency
    (Martu Community-Led Design)
  • 2.30 pm A Shared Civic Asset
    Danielle Peck, Architecture Associates with Graham Crist, Antarctica Architects
    (Drysdale Library, Vic)

    Peter Stutchbury, Peter Stutchbury Architecture
    (Wiradjuri Tourism Centre, NSW)
  • 3.00 pm Dialogue
    A panel discussion with co-curators Amy Muir and Rachel Neeson, Kat Rodwell (First Nations cultural adviser, Balert Mura Consultancy), Carey Lyon (founding director, Lyons) and Philip Thalis (founding principal, Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects), moderated by Shelley Penn (Shelley Penn Architect).
  • 3.50 pm Closing comments
    Katelin Butler and Georgia Birks, Architecture Media
  • 4.00 pm Closing drinks
  • 5.00 pm Event concludes
  • CPD Questions – The Architecture Symposium: Acts of Generosity


Simone Bliss

Creative Director, SBLA Studio

Simone Bliss is the creative director of SBLA Studio. She has a creative vision that enables her to materialize meaningful and inclusive conceptual ideas into functional spaces.

Simone’s innovation, playfulness and creativity are highly valued within the design and environmental industries. She aims to connect humans to landscapes in hope of inspiring a respect and care for the land and waterways that we all inhabit. Simone gains much joy from collaborating with and learning from First Nations people and is a strong advocate for equality through design.

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Nicholas Braun

Director, Sibling Architecture

Nicholas established Sibling Architecture along with co-directors Amelia Borg, Qianyi Lim and Timothy Moore in 2012. The practice is an award winning, multi-disciplinary design studio that produces innovative projects with a focus on socially engaged outcomes. Nicholas’s expertise as both a registered architect and a landscape architect sees the integration of landscape across the Sibling practice. Further to this, Nicholas also teaches design at the University of Melbourne.

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Jocelyn Chiew

Director of City Design, City of Melbourne

Jocelyn Chiew is an architect, landscape architect and urban designer. As the director of City Design, the in-house multidisciplinary design practice at the City of Melbourne, she plays a key role in creating inclusive, sustainable and enduring public spaces. The studio plans, designs and delivers council strategies and public works, and it provides design reviews for city-shaping development proposals.

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Graham Crist

Founding Director, Antarctica Architects

Dr Graham Crist is the founding director of Antarctica Architects in Melbourne and has led that practice with Nicola Garrod since 2014. They seek to give generous form to community-focused architectural projects. Graham is an associate professor in the school of architecture and urban design at RMIT University, where he leads the master of urban design program.

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Rebecca Digney

Manager, Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania

Rebecca Digney is a proud palawa woman and the manager of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, the statutory body created to hold legal title to lands and waters returned to Aboriginal ownership in Tasmania.

Rebecca was admitted as a lawyer in 2014 and spent most of her legal career practicing as a defence lawyer in Tasmania and Victoria, before realizing her true passion in advocating for the rights of her people, especially in relation to land return and heritage protection.

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Sonia van de Haar

Creative Director, Lymesmith

Sonia van de Haar is an artist and architectural colour specialist. Born in Wollongong, NSW, she studied painting at the School of Art and Design (SOAD), ANU; fresco painting at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India; and architecture at the University of NSW. In 2001, she formed Lymesmith, a colour-focused studio working to produce site-specific artworks and material palettes for the built environment, to reflect her cross-disciplinary interests and position outside of traditional gallery-based art making.

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Ross Harding

Principal, Finding Infinity

Equal parts troublemaker, technical mind and artist, Harding is one of the most enthusiastic, optimistic and cheeky engineers you’ll ever meet.

A rare combination of dreamer and schemer, he thinks big-picture about transforming cities around the world so they become completely self-sufficient. At the same time, he tirelessly works with his team at Finding Infinity to actually make it happen.

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Mat Hinds

Director, Taylor and Hinds Architects

Mat Hinds established Taylor and Hinds Architects with Poppy Taylor in 2011. The practice is nationally and internationally recognized and awarded, particularly within the sphere of cultural heritage.

The architecture of Taylor and Hinds centres on an approach that is site specific, economical and strategic. Noted for its sensitivity, firmness and experiential clarity, the work of Taylor and Hinds addresses complex questions of civics, landscape, identity and history particular to the Tasmanian condition.

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Annabel Lahz

Director, Lahznimmo

Annabel Lahz is a highly respected architect with an impressive body of work including education, public and urban architecture, such as the Wallace Wurth Building and the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, both at the University of New South Wales.

Annabel is known for her ideas-based approach to architecture and developing strong design concepts. She considers architecture to be a balance between the pragmatic and the conceptual and is skilled maintaining the integrity of the design, whilst balancing her clients needs, budget and time constraints.

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James Loder

Partner, Wardle

James is instrumental in shaping Wardle’s design culture, driving innovation through a technology-led process. With an interest in material expression, James leverages new technologies to foster Wardle’s culture of making.

Through collaboration, James compels design to be responsive to people, environmental objectives, and opportunities to create meaningful connections with country and place. He has an innate ability to gather the conceptual strands of a project and shape them into compelling architectural propositions.

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Kevin O’Brien

Principal, BVN

Kevin O’Brien is a Brisbane-based architect. In 2018 he joined BVN as a principal, becoming part of one of Australia’s largest and most highly acclaimed architectural practices.

In 2020 he was appointed an adjunct professor at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, where he had previously been a professor of creative practice. He was also a board member of the La Boite Theatre from 2015 to 2020, and the Institute of Modern Art from 2017 to 2019.

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Danielle Peck

Co-director, Architecture Associates

Danielle Peck is co-director of Architecture Associates, which was established in 2016. She has been practising architecture for more than 15 years, working on a wide variety of projects. She is interested in architecture that embeds stories of culture, place and ecology and has a particular focus on working with arts sector clients, believing that spaces for the arts are vital civic contributors that promote open-minded, compassionate societies.

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Aaron Peters

Director, Vokes and Peters

Aaron Peters co-founded Vokes and Peters with Stuart Vokes in 2015. The practice is known for producing buildings that respond to prevailing settings, cultural narratives, human occupation and the presence of nature. Vokes and Peters has been widely recognized for its private houses, however, the practice also works across a range of cultural and commercial projects, heritage conservation, furniture design and teaching.

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Challis Smedley

Challis Smedley Architect

Challis Smedley is a sole practitioner based in Sydney with over twenty-five years of experience in combining architecture, adaptive re-use and heritage conservation work with a masters in heritage conservation (United Kingdom, 1997). Challis works closely with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects on a project-by-project basis and runs her own solo practice, primarily working with adaptive re-use and upgrades for existing residential buildings.

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Bridget Smyth

City Architect and Design Director, City of Sydney

For the past 30 years, Bridget Smyth has pursued a career in urban design and architecture for major public domain and infrastructure projects in Australia and the USA.

Currently, Smyth is Sydney’s City Architect and executive manager of city design and public art. Her portfolio includes Sustainable Sydney 2050’s vision and implementation. She also directs the city’s public art program and manages the Sydney Design Advisory Panel and Public Art Advisory Committee.

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Peter Stutchbury

Founder, Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Peter Stutchbury has practised in Australia at Peter Stutchbury Architecture (PSA) since 1981. His work originates from principles of holistic energy management, logical beauty and connection to place. A lifetime of formative education in the desert of western NSW has nurtured Peter’s understanding of land and sky patterns: “If a building sits astray of place, it relies only on the architecture. Connectivity breeds responsibility,” Peter says.

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Kerstin Thompson

Principal, Kerstin Thompson Architects

Kerstin Thompson is principal of Kerstin Thompson Architects and an adjunct professor at RMIT and Monash Universities. A committed design educator, she regularly lectures and runs studios at various schools across Australia and New Zealand. In recognition for the work of her practice, contribution to the profession and tertiary education, Kerstin was elevated to Life Fellow by the Australian Institute of Architects in 2017, appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2022 and awarded the Gold Medal – the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour, which recognizes distinguished services – in 2023.

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Emma Williamson

Co-founder, The Fulcrum Agency

Emma Williamson is a co-founder of The Fulcrum Agency, a creative consultancy founded in 2018 that leverages community and social outcomes through evidence-based design, strategy, advocacy and research.

This new platform evolved following two decades in practice as director of CODA, a multi-award-winning West Australian architecture practice that produced work across all sectors. The Fulcrum Agency builds on this experience, working to position architecture and design thinking at the fore of decision-making in communities.

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Carey Lyon

Founding Director, Lyons

Carey Lyon is a founding director of Lyons, one of Australia’s largest and most innovative architectural design practices. Lyons is committed to the intellectual exposition of architectural practice, actively folding conceptual ideas into the realities of delivering major projects.

Carey is an acknowledged leader in design within Australia, evidenced by the multi-award-winning projects he has led and co-led, and by his long-standing role as professor of architecture at RMIT University and peer-elected positions for national architecture bodies.

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Kat Rodwell

First Nations Cultural Adviser, Balert Mura Consultancy

Kat is a proud Ngunnawal woman and respected Aboriginal Cultural Advisor with 20-plus years’ experience. For Kat, every project has a story to tell about the custodians’ Country, their culture, their history and their language. Kat works with Traditional Owners and project stakeholders using a successful collaborative and respectful approach called the Balert Mura Plan (meaning Strong Pathway).

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Philip Thalis

Principal, Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects

Philip Thalis is principal of Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects, a practice recognized for its independent standpoint and design expertise across a range of project types and scales.

Working equally for public and private clients, the practice has won more than 100 state and national awards, commendations and competition prizes for architectural, urban, public domain and heritage projects. Major competition winning projects include the Olympic Village – National Architecture Competition in 1992, and the East Darling Harbour International Competition in 2006. In 2009 Philip was awarded the AIA NSW Presidents Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Architectural Profession (jointly with Peter John Cantrill), and in 2019 was made a Life Fellow.

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Shelley Penn

Director, Shelley Penn Architect

Shelley Penn is an architect, urbanist and non-executive director. She has more than 35 years’ experience encompassing architectural practice and senior strategic advisory roles, supporting government and the private sector to advance outcomes for all people through the quality of the built environment.

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Amy Muir

Director, Muir

Amy Muir is an architect and director of Muir, a Melbourne-based architecture practice established in 2016. The practice engages with a range of projects, including those for public and institutional briefs, bringing a sympathetic and strategic attitude to the varying contexts that they work within. The practice is underpinned by a firm belief in project-based research that investigates the language of memory and place.

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Rachel Neeson

Director, Neeson Murcutt Neille

Rachel Neeson is director of the architecture practice Neeson Murcutt Neille. Rachel studied architecture at the University of Sydney, graduating with the University Medal in 1993. She was awarded the Board of Architects 2002 Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship and completed a Masters of Architecture in Barcelona. Upon her return in 2004, Rachel established Neeson Murcutt Architects with the late Nick Murcutt.

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