Dr Deborah Dearing was last night announced as the new president of the NSW Architects Registration Board. She will be the first woman to hold the position, and the eleventh president overall since the board was established in 1923.

Dearing comes to the board with over three decades of international experience within the architecture industry. Over the years, her work has demonstrated a particular focus in the areas of urban design, land-use planning, heritage conservation, affordable housing and property development. Dearing’s previous appointments include senior executive roles within the NSW Department of Planning, Architectus and Stockland. She has been a past recipient of a Life Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Dearing’s appointment was announced by registrar Timothy Horton at an event held in Sydney. In her inaugural speech, Dearing acknowledged the long-standing diversity of the NSW Board of Architecture, and her commitment to ensuring the ongoing high quality of architects and architecture in the state.

“The board’s strength lies in its diversity,” said 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.

“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 $30 million 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.”

Dearing’s appointment coincided with the admission of three new members to the board. Joining Dearing are Sarah Marshall, the executive general manager at Lendlease, and Peter Salhani, a writer and editor covering architecture and environment at Pocket Press.

These appointments coincide with the NSW Architects Registration Board’s announcement of a strategic, three-year plan to shape the organisation’s goals through to 2020. The centrepiece of the strategy is ARBOPEN, a flagship project that is intended to “pull the future forward through thought leadership, events and resources that look [ten] years ahead”.

The full list of current NSW Architects Registration Board members can be found here.