AIA appoints new National President

July 7, 2011

Sydney-based architect Brian Zulaikha appointed as 72nd National President of Australian Institute of Architects.

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed Brian Zulaikha as the Institute’s 72nd National President.

Sydney-based Zukaikha is a founding partner of architecture practice Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, and has been the NSW AIA Chapter President from 2009-2011. He takes over the role from Melbourne architect Karl Fender, director of Fender Katsalidis Architects.

Zulaikha’s firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer is known for projects including the award-winning Carriageworks Performing Arts Centre – the transformation of a former 1888 carriage workshops at Eveleigh into a vibrant new facility for arts and community events. Other successful projects include the Paddington Reservoir Gardens and the Glasshouse Arts Conference and Entertainment Centre.

Zulaikha’s key priorities in the role will include driving sustainability in communities, cities and architecture; influencing planning reform across Australia; and developing a dialogue between the profession and the Federal and State Governments – with a drive to establish a Government Architect position within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Zulaikha will also work to foster links with other architectural organisations working locally and abroad – including establishing a formal relationship with Emergency Architects Australia; and promoting the shared role art and architecture can play in enriching culture and quality of life.

Speaking of his plans for his year as the AIA National President, he said: “‘Sustainable cities’ has become a catchcry for the 21st century. The Institute is well placed to make ‘sustainable cities’ more than a slogan. As architects and advocates we can influence the design of our cities and the quality of life of their occupants.

“Urban density is one of the most important aspects of planning for sustainability. We need to consolidate our cities and preserve the green belts that support valuable agriculture and provide containment lines. We must be able to get in and out of cities quickly.”

Zulaikha also stressed the importance of adaptive reuse in sustainable urban design.

“This year, the Institute will continue to work collaboratively to improve the quality of our urban spaces, both aesthetically and in terms of liveability. Our membership and leading role with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is a key strategy for addressing the environmental and ecological issues now facing our industry. ASBEC is working with the three levels of government to produce a prioritised action agenda for the future.”

The new National President described the Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) program as “a strong and close collaboration helping shape the future prosperity of the nation”.

Speaking about planning reform, Zulaikha said: “We are already seeing the benefits of the NSW planning reforms of 2002, and the introduction of expert advisory panels for Councils, with the SEPP 65 initiative delivering better, more liveable apartment designs. The introduction of SEPP 65 nationally would result in significantly improved multi-residential apartments around the country, and I will be encouraging this step during the coming year.

“This year, we will continue to promote architecture’s contribution to culture, sustainability and quality of life. And, aim to achieve greater recognition of the resourcefulness and creativity of our profession.”

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