The Regional Architects Association, a new architectural body created to specifically address the needs of regional communities, was launched this week, with a group of architects intent on making a difference to towns outside of metropolitan areas.

Described as being ‘independent and driven’, the RAA has been founded by a group of like-minded leading regional architects from across New South Wales with a vision to better the landscape for the profession, their clients and the communities they live in.

In the wake of the Black Summer bushfires that engulfed the Eastern seaboard, flash floods and population shifts have also become problems for regional communities, something the RAA plans to tackle as both an association and at its inaugural conference to be hosted later this month.

Create Architecture’s Scott Carpenter says the association’s creation centres around the need to bring architects from across the regions together to share experiences, discuss issues and create a better outcome for regional communities.

“Regional Australia has become a melting pot of talented creatives in recent years and the ensuing Architecture is testament to that. 2020 saw metropolitan Australia open its eyes to the regions so I am inspired at the prospect of the newly formed RAA facilitating Australia’s shift in focus towards the sea and trees,” he says.

“It is the most valuable role of the association, to bring people together. The challenges for regional architects are very different and the collegiate support experienced in cities is often not there. Being able to share our experiences and knowledge is extremely important, especially for the new generation of architects who are moving to these areas,” says Takt Director Katharina Hendel.

The RAA’s inaugural conference will give voice to regional architects in a bid to properly shape the association. Open to architects from across the country, the conference will present a speaker series and hold site visits to various regional spots.

Issues of disaster recovery, pandemic tourism, economic gridlock and housing headline a list of issues the RAA are intent on delivering solutions for. 

Creating infrastructure that can cope with the growing populations and tourism numbers of rural towns is a major talking point for the RAA at both its conference and moving forward. A sentiment shared by all RAA founding members is that serious attention needs to be paid to infrastructure, public amenity and the sustainability of our regional towns.

Stephen Johansson of the Shoalhaven-based Facility Design Group says the issue of scalability in design as a crucial issue that must be solved moving forward.

“Given we have huge influxes and demand on services in the holidays – we need to account for that but also keep our towns ‘livable’.”

The Regional Architects Association’s RE-GENERATE 2021 conference will be held on 26-27 May. The 2 day seminar will host a total of 4 formal CPD points for attendees as well as the RAA Launch and opening party on the first evening. For tickets and more information, click here.

Image: Creative Directors for the conference, Virginia Wong-See (left) and Tricia Helyar (right). Supplied.