Modernism on show highlights new paths to architecture

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A new exhibition on European architects in post war Australia explores the contribution made by immigrants who were welcomed to a foreign land with new rules. “The Moderns: European Designers In Sydney” opened at the Museum of Sydney in July and will run until November 2017 thanks to Sydney Living Museums.

At the centre of the exhibition is the work of renowned architects like Hugh Buhrich, and his wife, designer Eva Buhrich; Gabor Lukacs and Hans Peter Oser. All of those featured arrived in Sydney in the years following World War II and were ‘naturalized’. Many assumed their European qualifications were sufficient to be registered as architects in Australia. 

But original documents shared by the NSW Architects Registration Board for the exhibition show that some new immigrants and their home universities were surprised to learn that where their degrees were not recognised by Australian authorities, they were required to sit an exam testing seven areas including:

  1. Design
  2. Constructional design
  3. Building services and equipment
  4. Drainage and sanitation
  5. Town planning
  6. History of architecture
  7. Professional practice

Many were successful and went on to lengthy architectural careers. Some, like Hungarian émigré Stephen Gergely was registered in 1961 and is still practising today. Lukacs and Oser were registered before the war ended in 1945.

But not surprisingly, much has changed since the 50’s.

Take Cesar Taboada who arrived in Australia with architectural qualifications gained in Peru. After being told his overseas degree was not equivalent to an Australian qualification, Cesar gained local experience with architectural firms prior undertaking a pathway designed for his particular circumstances. Cesar registered last year via a pathway designed for someone without an approved qualification in architecture. In NSW, this pathway is called the Built Work Program of Assessment. There's lots of stories like Cesar's.

“The really good news for anyone recognised as an architect in their home country is that it’s now even easier to have international qualifications and experience recognised here. So too for those who have gained the competencies of an architect through experience”, said Mae Cruz, Registration and Education Lead with the NSW Architects Registration Board. 

“The path to registration is unrecognisable from just 2 years ago”, said Cruz. “Because we have a National Standard of Competency for architects, it means we have an objective threshold test that asks ‘do you have the competencies set by the Standard’? Where once it was assumed you had studied, work and trained here, the reality in a global marketplace is very different. And where there was once only one path, there are now half a dozen tailored to every circumstance.”

To find out more on the many pathways to register as an architect in NSW, follow the links at

NSW ARB and UTS launch Salon series on Standards

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We are excited to launch a series of Salon events and podcasts that will explore the role and value of quality standards in architecture; the impacts of regulation on learning cultures; and most ambitiously, the future of architectural regulation in this country.

This discussion implicates architectural practitioners, educators, institutions and regulators, and we are excited that a space for these discussions has been created by Prof Martin Bryant, the Head of the UTS School of Architecture, who has agreed to host the Series.

In our first two Salon sessions, we will build a conversation around two of the profession’s most significant documents that regulate the practice and education of architects: The National Standard of Competency for Architects, and the Australian and New Zealand Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure. These discussions set the stage for an informed, incisive and ambitious third Salon that will tackle the future direction of regulation, currently planned for October 2017.

We aim to be a leading resource on documenting shifts in education and practice, and sharing that knowledge as widely as possible. The first Salon and podcast will focus on the National Competency Standard for Architects because we know it impacts all aspects of the profession. The primer below offers a contemporary snapshot of the Standard, and raises questions about its future.

If you would like to join the conversation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us at @ArchInsights 

Download: A Primer on Standards and take a look at our handy summary of the National Standard of Competency for Architects

Sydney architecture and design shine in global shortlist

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Sydney World Design Capital 2020 brings global focus to Australian architecture and design 

13 July 2017

The Montreal-based World Design Organzation has announced Sydney is one of two metropolitan cities shortlisted to be declared the World Design Capital in 2020, in a bid that promises to deliver a more inclusive and resilient city. 

More than 40 organizations representing design, business and institutions have been quietly working to develop the bid that was first lodged on 31 March 2017, but was only publicly revealed at the Good Design Awards in Sydney on 8 June 2017.

The City of Parramatta will act as the Host City in a move that cements Western Sydney’s role in shaping the future of a greater metropolitan region. The bid document states that Greater Sydney is Australia’s largest capital city “fused with a global community of cities, yet isolated and remote; poised on the coastal fringe of the Australian land mass - boasting some of the world’s most ancient and pristine ecosystems within hours of the greatest concentration of new cities on the planet”.

The bid is centred on the three themes of climate, culture and the city - showcasing the exceptional work of architects, industrial, graphic and digital designers, landscape architects and design-based enterprises and institutions from across Sydney and NSW.

The NSW Architects Registration Board is proud to have supported the Sydney World Design Capital bid from the beginning, along with our friends at Good Design Australia, Frost* Collective, Committee for Sydney, and the City of Parramatta.

To read more, download the bid document at 

The World Design Capital program has been awarded to cities including Torino (2008), Seoul (2010), Helsinki (2012), Capetown (2014), Taipei (2016) and Mexico City (2018). If Sydney is successful, it would be the first time an Australian city has been designated World Design Capital.

More than 500 architects removed from NSW Register

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More than 500 architects were removed from the Register in NSW on 1 July, meaning some may be starting the new financial year trading in breach of the Architects Act.

Much like lawyers, architects must renew their licence to practice each year. While the cost of registration varies across each State and Territory, NSW charges the lowest registration fee of any mainland State at just $250.00 in the practising category. At registration, practising architects are required to evidence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) undertaken in the prior year, and Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover held by the architect.

This year, the process was streamlined with a fully digital portal that allowed architects to upload CPD and PII records, as well as tailor their entry in the Register with weblinks and contact information suited to prospective clients who may be looking to work with an architect.

Given the change in registration procedures in 2017, the Board contacted all architects registered in NSW in March, and again in May ahead of three reminders that were sent in June. The Architects Act requires the Board to remove any architect from the Register if they fail to pay the approved fee for annual registration by the due date.

Architects wishing to restore their name to the Register must apply, and pay a restoration fee of $150.


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The annual registration renewal has closed. If you wish to renew your registration as an architect in NSW, please download this form and post or email the completed form to the NSW Architects Registration Board.

Note to all architects (Practising and Non-Practising) renewing registration: 

Re-registrations period was between 1-30 June 2017

In past years, we've opened re-registrations in April for a full 3 months until 30 June.

We think this long period of time has been counter productive – allowing so long that no action was needed. As a result, many architects miss the 30 June deadline and end up with a $150 additional charge to be restored. We want to make it easier to get it right. So this year, we're opening re-registrations on 1 June, and closing at midnight on 30 June.


From 1 June, we will make it easy for every practising architect to attach a CPD Activity Record. And if you carry your own Professional Indemnity Insurance policy, we're asking you to upload this too. These records remain confidential and secure.  PLEASE DO NOT SEND THEM PRIOR TO YOUR RENEWAL.

Read for information and guidance:  INFORMATION SHEET - Continuing Professional Development.pdf

Architects who did renew during June can login to updated their registered address.

New leadership at NSW Architects Registration Board promises to ‘pull the future forward’.

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NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean has announced three new appointments to the NSW Architects Registration Board that includes the Greater Sydney Commission’s District Commissioner and architect, Dr Deborah Dearing as President.

The appointments coincide with a new three-year Strategic Plan 2017-2020 – the centrepiece of which is a flagship project titled ARBOPEN which seeks to “pull the future forward through thought leadership, events and resources that look 10 years ahead”.  

“Quality design, housing and construction is a priority for this government. At the very centre of this are families and homeowners, and the architects and builders that make it possible,” Mr Kean said.

“The Architects Registration Board promotes a better understanding of architecture in the community, and I’m pleased to welcome new members that want to play an active role in preparing our streets, suburbs and cities for change.”

The three new appointments to the Board include;

  • Dr Deborah Dearing, District Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission.
  • Sarah Marshall, Executive General Manager – Operational Support, Engineering with Lendlease - one of the world's leading providers of property and infrastructure solutions.
  • Peter Salhani, a writer and editor of design, architecture and environment with Pocket Press.

Dr Dearing is only the 11th President to hold the position since the Board was established in 1923, and is the first woman in the role.

“The Board’s strength lies in its diversity,” said Dr Dearing. “The Board brings together the voices of local government, construction and property, law and the community itself, alongside architects. I’m especially pleased that the Minister’s appointments result in the most gender-balanced Board in its 94 year history”, said Dr Dearing.

“The Board registers and regulates almost 5,000 architects in NSW each year. It is the accrediting authority for schools of architecture that generate almost $30m annually, and it informs the public on what they can expect when working with an architect.”

“The Board plays an important role in helping homeowners who are working with an architect, to better understand what can seem a bewildering – but rewarding – process. We all know that delivering our dream can mean a fairly protracted path through councils, builders and budgets. Much of the Board’s work is aimed at making this complex process more understandable to all”, said Dr Dearing.

The new appointments join existing members:

Peter Poulet, NSW Government Architect

Peter Poulet is NSW Government Architect and General Manager of the Government Architect’s Office. Peter provides strategic and independent advice to Government on the built environment and provides Government Agencies with design review and advice on specific projects through commissions, boards and committees.

Shaun Carter, Immediate Past President, Australian Institute of Architects (NSW)

Shaun is the founding architect of Carterwilliamson Architects. Shaun came to architecture with a Structural Engineering degree and many years working in the construction industry.

Nigel Bell, Elected architect

Nigel is principal of ECOdesign Architects + Consultants, based in Katoomba Blue Mountains.  He has been a registered architect for over 30 years, having worked for small and medium practices before commencing his own.  From early days working on heritage projects, he moved on to become an early champion of sustainability and now, community engagement.

Melonie Bayl-Smith, Elected architect

Melonie Bayl-Smith is a registered Architect in NSW and Victoria, and Director of Bijl Architecture. Known as an outspoken advocate for architectural education, gender equity and good design, Melonie is Adjunct Professor at UTS School of Architecture where she teaches in the M.Arch. program, lecturing in professional practice and tutoring in the design studio.

Prof Gerard Reinmuth, architect, Academic member

Gerard Reinmuth is a Founding Director of TERROIR. Gerard’s current role is split between his Directorship of TERROIR’s Sydney and Copenhagen offices and his Professorial role at UTS. 

Matthew Curll, Lawyer and Legal member

Matthew is an experienced law practitioner with Hall & Wilcox, who specialises in advising architects and building industry professionals in the management of risk through their consultant contracts and in the management of claims that arise against them from time to time at various stages of the building process.

Milly Brigden, representing the property sector

Milly Brigden’s career has been characterised by over 10 years’ experience as a Property Investment Specialist, Licenced Real Estate Agent as well as 20 years as a property investor. Milly is currently the Co-Founder and Licensee-in-Charge at Property Investor Solutions where she provides investment-grade property opportunities to approved industry business partners.

Sue Weatherley, representing local government

Sue is currently Group Manager Outcomes and Development at Parramatta City Council in the centre of western Sydney, the twelfth largest local government in NSW, with the second largest CBD. As Group Manager, Sue is responsible for preparation and management of a budget of $12 million, and the management of 150 staff across 4 service units.

2017 Session 2 - Architectural Practice Examination

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Session 2 Architectural Practice Examination will be open for application through the ARB online facility on 1st of July 2017.  In order to prepare your submissions for upload, please read the online guide below.

APE Guide for Online Application

Last day to apply for the APE will be 14 July 2017.

We want your comments on the draft Regulations

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NSW Architects Regulations 

The NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation has released the draft Architects Regulation 2017 (draft Regulation) and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for public consultation on the NSW Have Your Say website:

The draft Regulation has been prepared to support the operation of the Architects Act 2003 and replace the current Architects Regulation 2012 when it automatically repeals on 1 September 2017.

The draft Regulation includes:

  • qualifications for registration as an architect;
  • the process for election of members to the NSW Architects Registration Board; and
  • the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

The draft Regulation aims to encourage the use of modern technology and reduce red tape. A RIS has been prepared to accompany the draft Regulation. The RIS includes an impact assessment, discussion of the draft Regulation, and summary of changes to the Regulation.

Written comments must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 30 June 2017 via:

  • Email:    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Meet ARB OPEN - a 3 year project to create a more open platform for architecture.
You can read more about ARB OPEN in our new 3 year Strategic Plan.

At it's centre, is a new digital-first strategy. So what does it mean for you? Well, firstly, we're saying goodbye to hardcopy mail. From now on you'll only hear from us by email. And it's up to you to make sure we can get in touch.

What else? This year:

  • Re-registrations must be completed between 1- 30 June 2017.
  • Architects will be able to tailor their own entry on the Register of Architects at any time
  • ALL architects are required to attach a CPD Activity Record and evidence of PII, if relevant

If you're the Nominated Responsible Architect for your firm you should also ensure your details are up to date when you re-register.

We'll share more in coming weeks as ARB OPEN comes alive.

Re-registrations must be completed between 1-30 June 2017

In past years, we've opened re-registrations in April for a full 3 months until 30 June.

We think this long period of time has been counter productive – allowing so long that no action was needed. As a result, many architects miss the 30 June deadline and end up with a $150 additional charge to be restored. We want to make it easier to get it right. So this year, we're opening re-registrations on 1 June, and closing at midnight on 30 June. This year, just think: it's due in June.

Architects can tailor their own entry on the Register of Architects at any time

One of the primary functions of the Board is to maintain a Register of Architects. But what purpose should it serve? Searching for an architect on the Register isn't very helpful. It tells you if the person is an architect or not. But if they are, we give no help to those looking to get in touch. We field calls all the time from homeowners and prospective clients looking for ways to contact an architect. We think architects might like the chance to take that call themselves. So ARB OPEN is giving architects the option to add an email, or phone number, a social media handle or business website.

ALL architects are required to attach a CPD Activity Record and evidence of PII, if relevant

In return for protection of the title, architects are expected to remain covered and stay current. This means 20 hours of every year needs to be allocated to continuing professional development (interestingly, the average Australian spends 4.4 hours each week commuting). From 1 June, ARB OPEN makes it easy for every practising architect to attach a CPD Activity Record. And if you carry your own Professional Indemnity Insurance policy, we're asking you to upload this too. These records remain confidential and secure.

And it's up to you to make sure we can get in touch.

An architect must inform the Board of any change in contact details within 14 days. In fact, the Licensing and Registration (Uniform Procedures) Act makes it an offence for us to have outdated details. What's more, if you unsubscribe to our emails, you can't know what you need to know. We won't email you unless you need to know. We don't send monthly newsletters to clog up your inbox.

Got questions? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

2017 Architects Medallion

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Georgia Forbes Smith

This year’s Architects Medallion goes to Georgia Forbes-Smith from the University of Sydney. Her final project take us to from the outer limits of human aspiration (understanding the cosmos) to the minutia of everyday human existence – in equal measure. Her theoretical construct, mapped across a coastal bluff in Sydney, presents ‘experience-installations’ from a planetarium (embodying our highest collective quest), a crematorium (the individual human life span), and a Museum of Time and Space — charting the distance between the two. Just as expansive as her thinking, was Georgia's method of presenting the work, coupling a small bound compendium of the project with two-metre-long blueprints. 

Making the most of her educational opportunities, Georgia has been a consistently high academic achiever, who made the Dean’s List of Excellence two years running (2011, 2012) and was awarded the 1st Degree Graduate of the Year and Most Outstanding Student in Design and Professional Studies (2014) from the Australian Institute of Architects. She also secured an International Exchange Outbound Scholarship 2015, and an Innovation in Architectural Design Award in 2016.

While her Masters project was of a highly conceptual nature, she applies her passion and big-picture thinking to real world issues around public space and domestic housing. An articulate and engaging storyteller, Georgia is an architectural dreamer and practitioner who we believe will be highly influential to the next generation of architects and architecture.