Shelley Penn has been recognised for her efforts in the design industry, by gaining a Member of the Order of Australia for architecture and design in the public realm in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Opening her practice Shelley Penn Architect in 1993, Penn has enjoyed a career filled with various decorated pro bono and educational roles that has shaped her decades as a designer at the forefront of Australian architecture.
Penn is an Associate Professor in Architecture at Melbourne University and Adjunct Professor at Monash University. She was the President of the Australian Institute of Architects from 2012-2013, held the role of Associate Victorian Government Architect for four years from 2006 until 2010, as well as holding a seat on a range of government advisory boards.
An architect with a knack of creating thoughtfully crafted residential and public places, Shelley Penn Architect reflects the personal qualities of Penn herself. The practice is driven by and committed to contributing to the quality of the built environment, at small and large scales, through the poetic capacity of high quality architecture and urban design to enrich the human condition, with the predominant current emphasis on working with governments to support excellent public outcomes.
Growing up in Williamstown in Melbourne’s south-west, Penn campaigned heavily against a high-rise development built in Nelson Place in 2010. Former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner and then Williamstown MP Wade Noonan devised a 183-page document that spoke heavily against 13 storey towers built at the former Port Phillip Woollen Mill site. Penn at the time said that new buildings on historically significant sites should be respectful and contributory to context.
The architect remains a significant voice within Australia’s design industry, as she continues to educate the next generation of architects in her educational roles.