- Article by Natalie Mortimer
Recently appointed as president of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, Amy Muir’s illustrious career has seen her win numerous accolades including the the Australian Institute of Architects 2016 National Emerging Architect Prize. ADR caught up with Muir to learn about her new role as president, her childhood spent around the docks and what’s inspiring her in 2018.
ADR: Can you tell us a little about your background and how you first became interested/involved in architecture?
My great grandfather was a naval architect and his love affair with all things seafaring must have rubbed off onto my father.
Growing up we were surrounded by the maritime and I have very fond memories of the singularity and robustness of the shipping vessels and surrounding infrastructure. My father was also very practical. He was always tinkering, making and building in his spare time. I adored spending time with him watching him problem solve through doing.
Prior to studying architecture I studied Interior Design at RMIT. At the time I was seduced by the fine arts bent the course supported. This then led onto completing Architecture at RMIT. I suspect architecture being the tool for defining and creating space/place and problem solving through creativity seemed like a logical progression from these earlier influences.
In 2018 you’ll be heading up the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, what do you hope to bring to this role?
Over the past few years there has been an enormous amount of work carried out by the past presidents Vanessa Bird, Peter Malatt and Jon Clements. They have set a strong precedent for change and I hope to build on this. As a Chapter Council we are keen to be quite strategic about achieving measurable outcomes.
The Chapter Council brings a diverse range of architects and skills to the table. There is a rich knowledge base that we are all keen to use to its advantage.
Advocacy has always been a collective concern and is high on the agenda. Having a voice and being heard. It is also about supporting the younger generation of architects to provide them with the space to test ideas and evolve within the profession advocating for continual development and improvement.
I am very passionate about supporting and advocating for quality design outcomes within our built environment. Cities can come unstuck if there isn’t a commitment or an understanding of the value that good design can bring to shaping our cities. We should always be designing for longevity not immediacy ensuring that we are consciously building sustainable communities.
It is also wonderful to be working alongside the incoming National president Clare Cousins. It has been so lovely having a sounding board and being able to share ideas and support each other.
Who or what is inspiring you in 2018?
I am inspired by the energy of my peers and colleagues. It never ceases to amaze me how continual this energy is. I am also feeling really buoyant about the supportive community that we are part of and ensuring that this is strengthened.
Collaboration, cross conversations, supporting one another, seeking new challenges and feeling passionate about what the future can bring.
What is your favourite place/space in Australia and why?
When I head overseas I spend my time chasing buildings. In Australia I tend to relish the landscape. A view out and beyond feels great. Allowing the eye to be fixed on an empty horizon line. Last year I crewed in an ocean race to King Island sailing across the Bass Strait and it was one of those in the elements experiences that I will never forget. Lots of wonderful nothingness.
What is the piece of work are you most proud of, and why?
I am usually excited about the next project because it provides an opportunity to build on the last. We have just been shortlisted in collaboration with Openwork for the NGV Architecture Commission so that should be fun.