The man replacing Shaun Carter as the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter President acknowledges that he has big shoes to fill and a lot of work to do if he is to regain membership numbers and trust.
Andrew Nimmo, director of Sydney-based practice Lahznimmo Architects will take over from Carter on 7 February and in his written preface to the transition made two things clear to NSW members;
1. he wishes to continue Carter’s legacy of public engagement and informed critique; and
2. he wants to regain the trust and respect of former and current members following the Chapter’s period of restructuring.
Nimmo is particularly concerned with the fallout of members located outside of Sydney since the closure of the Newcastle and Country division offices in December 2015. The divisions were relocated to the NSW Chapter offices in Tusculum, Sydney after a review of the Institute’s business model found it was unable to support the costs associated with running a standalone office.
“In the restructure of the Institute we must acknowledge that Newcastle and Country divisions have not gone without impact,” Nimmo explains.
“The Institute is committed to maintaining member support throughout NSW, and to this end I want to work closely with Country and Newcastle to bring former members, and more, back into the fold.”
Nimmo says he will follow Carter’s lead in taking the Chapter Council on the road to meet with those architects practicing outside of Sydney and unable to fully benefit from the Institute’s event and workshop infrastructure.
“It concerns me that so many good architects active within the networks do not see value in being members of the Institute,” he says.
“I want to strengthen ties with the networks through continuing Shaun’s initiative of taking Chapter Council on the road. These forums allow us to listen, but also explain the work that the Institute does.”
Above: The old Newcastle and Country division office at 143 King Street, Newcastle Image: Google Earth
Right: Shaun Carter, NSW Chapter President
Another key priority for Nimmo is to continue the work of Carter and ensure the voice of design is heard loud and clear in the drafting of state planning and affordable housing policy.
Carter’s advocacy for design-led planning has been noted, particularly across the pages of Fairfax Media publications, but also as a consultant for the NSW government in the creation of its draft architecture and design policy and medium density design guide released last year.
Nimmo will be working with a different planning minister and premier to Carter but his political stance, intentions and message will remain the same.
“I want to engage with the NSW Government initiative for design-led planning and look forward to discussing the profession’s role with the new Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Government Architect Peter Poulet,” Nimmo notes.
“Our new Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said that affordable housing will be a major focus for her, and again the profession has much knowledge and skills that can be utilized to help frame a sensible discussion.”
Nimmo also wishes to improve the dialogue between the profession and universities and see A+ membership picked up by more of the larger practices.
He will take office on Tuesday 7 February.
Read his full address here.