Female Fellow First as Local Chair for the Australian Institute of Architects

17 June 2012

The architectural community is in transition mode with the recent announcement of a brand new chair for the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers division of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), marking the first time a woman has been elected to the role of Regional Chair in Queensland.

The appointment of Amy Degenhart, Director of the award-winning Gold Coast architectural and urban design practice degenhartSHEDD, has been warmly received by the region, receiving a resounding welcome by way of voter support from eligible members, whose overall numbers are nearly 200.

Amy is ecstatic about the prospect of being a leader in her professional community, and it seems that this region’s architects are ready to embrace a change, looking forward to what promises to be a busy year ahead with a hectic schedule for all involved.

“This is a big year for the Institute of Architects on the Gold Coast, marking the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the regional awards program, started right here on the Gold Coast by my long standing colleagues.

It is truly an honour to be charged with this important responsibility at such a critical time for the profession, and I look forward to the input of all members of all genders, building on the strong foundations laid by the extraordinary efforts of the outgoing Chairman, Finnegan Jones,” Ms Degenhart said.

“There is certainly a lot to focus on, as this year will include not only the initiatives surrounding the 30 year celebrations of the AIA awards on the Gold Coast, but also the opportunities and challenges created through the two emerging schools of architecture on the Coast; the Griffith School of Environment and the Institute of Sustainable Design and Architecture ‘Soheil Abedian’ School of Architecture at Bond University.”

“It is time for this region to make strong statement for the profession of architecture…”, Ms Degenhart states, adding, “and, in order to make that statement, a lot of work needs to be achieved over the next twelve months, drawing upon the experience and enthusiasm of the local architectural community —and its allies— to help make this region one of the strongest and most progressive in its architectural achievements.”

As a long standing member of the local architectural community, Amy has brought a lot to her new position as Chairperson. As one of only three female Fellows of the Institute of Architects practising on the Gold Coast, she is considered by colleagues as a key contributor to the legitimacy of architecture in this region, bringing fresh insights, seemingly endless enthusiasm, and architectural acuity to the city—as well as a woman’s perspective.

Amy further remarks; “I once heard renowned Brisbane architect Timothy Hill muse about the future of architecture, indicating what a significant role women architects will play in that future. I have always been heartened by his words, and look forward to their increasing involvement in the profession, as it is so critical that an authentic architecture reflects its society and culture, and women are a very fundamental part of both”.

Professor Philip Follent, former Queensland Government Architect and current head of the Soheil Abedian School of Architecture, recently noted;

“Amy, like few others I know, has the ability to galvanise a community of like-minded people in a spirit of cooperation. I believe this is what our fraternity needs now more than ever.”

For more information about the Regional Division of the AIA or membership enquiries, please head to the AIA website directly at www.architecture.com.au.

degenhartSHEDD is an award-winning design practice that specialises in architecture and urban design, aiming to create successful places with a win—win result for clients, councils and communities. You can view their website at www.degenhartshedd.com.au.

For more information, please contact:

Jodie Johnson
Marketing manager
Phone: (07) 5562 5100
Email: info@degenhartshedd.com.au

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