Conrad Gargett Director and President Elect for the Australian Institute of Architects Queensland Chapter Bruce Wolfe has endorsed the possible reinstatement of a Brisbane City Architect, and wants one solely devoted to the role.
With the Brisbane City council election closing in, The Australian Labour Party mayoral candidate, Rod Harding, has announced that if elected he would reinstate a city architect within the first 100 days of being elected.
The city architect would sit in on planning and building committee meetings, chair the existing Design Advisory Panel, and oversee architectural designs as well as address the city’s congestion increase.
Supporting the proposal, Wolfe explains that the Brisbane City Council would benefit more from a City Architect that is unencumbered by personal practice considerations. He suggests that one that is solely devoted to the role would benefit the City’s urban environment.
“[We’d prefer] A city Architect who is solely dedicated to providing advocacy for better design within the city commenting on and assisting in the development of policy and on procurement as well as taking an active interest in what happens in some our most crucial building sites within the city,” he says.
Wolfe also says the reinstatement can “only be good for the urban environment and this can be seen in other Australian cities, for example Melbourne with the revitalization of that CBD.”
“As architects designing buildings for the city we need to be willing to have our designs scrutinized by our peers.”
Brisbane City Council assists over one million people, the largest population of any local government across Australia.
In an interview with Brisbane Times, Current lord mayor Graham Quirk of the Liberal National Party (LNP) says he would not introduce a city architect if re-elected.
“We already have an independent design advisory panel and this is a group of architects that are providing advice to us and it’s doing the job,”
“So the city architect is going to be duplicating, adding costs and I would rather spend that money tackling traffic congestion,” he says.
Past Brisbane City Architects include James Birrell (1955-1961) and Alfred Herbert Foster (1925 – 1932) who designed iconic Brisbane buildings including the Centenary Swimming Pools, the Wickham Terrace Car Park, the Toowong Library and the Kurilpa Library.
The Brisbane City Council election polls will open Saturday 19 March 2016.
Bruce Wolfe will take over as President for the AIA QLD Chapter from Richard Kirk on Thursday 10 March 2016 at the 2016 Queensland Chapter President's Dinner.