Victorian architect Clare Cousins was today inaugurated as the 79th national president of the Australian Institute of Architects in Melbourne, taking the reins from Richard Kirk and vowing to continue to champion key Institute policies including affordable housing and sustainability.

“I am passionate about the transformational role architects play in the life of our cities and communities as champions of innovation, quality and design that enhances sustainability and liveability,” says Cousins.

“With a strong focus on the power of good design, architects can have a positive influence on the production of both new and retrofitted housing stock that is energy efficient, reducing the unnecessary burden of high running costs on Australian households,” Cousins says.

“Our new strategy provides a strong framework as we dive into the next 12 months with an ambitious program focused on advocacy and revitalising our offering of toolsets to assist members in their day-to-day practice,” she says.

Cousins established her Melbourne practice, Clare Cousins Architects, in 2005. She was elected to the Institute’s National Council in 2016 as a councillor, and is the current chair of the National Practice Committee.

Previously, she was a Victorian chapter councillor and has been an active member of the Victorian Small and Medium Practice Forums, chair of the Member Services Committee (Victoria), chair of the Architecture Australia Editorial Committee, Constructive Mentoring Program mentor (Victoria) and a juror at both state and national levels of the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards program.

This means that in 2018 and for the first time, the Australian Institute of Architects now has both a female national president, as well as a CEO in the form of Jennifer Cunich.

Upon completing her 12-month term, Cousins will be succeeded by the dean of the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of NSW , Helen Lochhead, who has taken on the role of president-elect.