BVN’s progressive workplace culture came in for high praise at the recent End of Year Prize night organised by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NSW Chapter.

While BVN received the 2019 Best in Practice Prize NSW, BVN principal and soon-to-be NSW Government Architect Abbie Galvin won the 2019 Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize.

BVN was recognised for making a meaningful impact to the wider profession, with the AIA jury commending the architectural practice for “their progressive approach to all aspects of workplace culture”.

The Best in Practice Prize jury noted, “BVN recognises that a diverse and inclusive environment supports engagement, empowerment, and performance… There is a clear understanding that cultural change must be led from the top, and, where possible, policies and benefits are open to all staff, junior and senior. These include access to research time, flexible work, parental leave and profit sharing.”

Galvin, the 2019 recipient of the Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize is a product of this environment that nurtures collective creativity, inclusion and diversity, and importantly, supports women in senior architectural positions.

Cited by the jury as “an architect for her generation”, Galvin has been a principal of BVN for 23 years and was recently appointed Government Architect of NSW, the first woman to hold the title in its 200-year history. The Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize celebrates Galvin’s accomplishments as a female architect and commitment to design that positively affects daily life.

“Without doubt Abbie will continue to champion a public domain and architecture that breathes an authenticity and integrity, positively affecting the daily life of our state,” says the jury.

Commenting on BVN’s diversity and inclusive workplace culture, the jury said that the studio currently employed 30 nationalities, including leaders for whom English is a second language; maintained high ratios of female leadership with four of the ten (equally paid) principals being women and one of the four, the co-CEO of the practice; introduced flexibility policies and tech solutions that support remote working for employee wellbeing and work/life balance as a direct response to the often demanding hours in the industry; nurtured careers through a vibrant program of events, and learning and development opportunities such as practice-wide workshops with leadership consultants and sponsorship of the architectural registration process; and integrated a culture of research and experimentation into the practice through collaborations that explore alternative construction methods and experimentation with robotic fabrication.

Brian Clohessy, head of people and character at BVN says, “It is imperative that as an industry, it is understood that we can only deliver a quality built environment by ensuring that talented people are attracted to and stay in the industry. Providing an engaging and supportive workplace and culture is at the core of what we do.”