MBCoCA Buxton Contemporary

Australian Institute of Architects president Amy Muir on Victorian public architecture

Apr 29, 2019
  • Article by Online Contributor

As the 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards shortlist is announced, ADR catches up with The Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter president Amy Muir to discuss how public architecture benefits the state, its residents and the sense of community it fosters.

ADR: How do you believe sustainable design will inform the future of Victoria’s public architecture?

Amy Muir: ‘Sustainability’ needs to be supported by quality and long-term interventions in order for our cities to grow and evolve in a convincing manner. The architecture awards celebrate the incredible efforts of many who are finding solutions for supporting innovative and quality approaches to designing for the positive evolution of our public spaces and local communities. We can no longer think short-term.

Public investment is for the future of our growing population and is responsible for defining the legacy of our city. Understanding the importance of investing in rigorous consultation, design and delivery processes is imperative for the ongoing success of our growing cities.

It should also be remembered that this attitude also needs to be carried across into our multiresidential and affordable housing market that has had an enormous impact on the development of our cities.

Has the increase of people living in dense, urban environments driven a demand for well-designed public spaces?

Population increases certainly contribute to the conversation associated with how we house and provide for an increased population. The investment in upgrades to our public infrastructure addressing issues associated with public safety and amenity through increased rail links, upgrades to stations and the implementation of above ground level crossings are welcomed. However, we need to remember that quality interventions only can be provided for if there is a concerted effort to invest in long-term thinking. Conserving heritage-listed buildings is an important aspect of protecting Victoria’s public culture and history.

How does the future of public architecture in Victoria look?

Historically, Melbourne has been shaped by a very strong architecture community who brings a wide and varied approach to the evolution of our built environment. Year after year we see the bar being raised within the architecture awards and although it is not surprising, it is very encouraging.

With the recent announcement of the works that are to commence as part of the Melbourne Arts Precinct and the upcoming competition for the National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary, we are certainly seeing this section of the city developing to provide important and valuable public connections and amenities to the growing arts precinct in Melbourne.

With increased population growth, the importance of decentralisation and how our regions will develop is an important step forward in order to provide and support varied and rich communities across our state. The role that architecture plays is very important for the long term success of these cities and townships.

Pictured: MBCoCA Buxton Contemporary photographed by John Gollings

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