90th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects
Royal Australian Institute of Architects immediate past President, Ms Alice Hampson; Board; staff; and supporters of the Institute.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you to the beautiful, historic environs of Government House Queensland this afternoon, as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
Today’s venue is entirely fitting for this occasion, because Fernberg exemplifies how the buildings we use and inhabit are rarely static.
As many of you may be aware, Fernberg originally emerged in 1865 as a three-storey villa designed by Benjamin Backhouse.
Yet just 25 years later, it was transformed under the watchful gaze of architect Richard Gailey into the grand Italianate style mansion it remains today.
We named the contemporary fountain in the recently inaugurated Governor’s Courtyard after Gailey; it was part of his vision for the place.
Over the years into the 20th century, various extensions and modifications – such as the addition of the eastern balcony for the 1954 visit of Her Majesty The Queen, and Brit Andresen’s elegant Pavilion, peacefully perched on the Ridge near the bushland – have shaped Fernberg’s story, as much as its form.
This we must, and should, acknowledge: the influence of architects is extensive and enduring, with designs across our cities and communities having profound impacts on the people they serve, irrespective of the project’s size and scope.
It is therefore not surprising that the RAIA, and in particular the Queensland Chapter, has long played such a significant role in supporting our architects as they navigate the dynamic and, at times, challenging, nature of their profession.
The professional development activities, networking opportunities, mentorships and awards program on offer, encourage members to remain connected with each other; and that must be very welcome in a profession that faces increasing complexity and responsibility.
Yet, I am confident that the Institute’s dedication to promoting quality, and sustainable design, will ensure that the buildings born from the plans of Queensland architects will continue to receive well-deserved international recognition for their innovation and sensitivity.
These hallmark qualities of innovation, beauty and connection to landscape are what set us apart, and should make us all very proud.
World Architecture Day, which was celebrated yesterday, reminds us that we have a collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat... a sentiment maybe taken a little too far by one of my predecessors, the 14th Governor, Sir Leslie Wilson, when he somewhat bluntly informed architects at a public gathering that, “there was room for general improvement”. He declared that admonition at the Royal Australian Institute of Architects major exhibition in 1935! One should desirably speak sympathetically to one’s audience.
My deepest congratulations to the RAIA for being such a trusted and hard-working organisation, which although having reached the grand age of 90 years, has an eye set firmly on the future.
This success has taken the efforts of many, and I thank all those involved for their commitment and dedication. I also thank everyone involved in preparing that most absorbing and interesting historical essay sent to me ahead of today’s occasion.
I particularly acknowledge the contribution of Ms Alice Hampson, who recently completed her term as National President of the RAIA, having been the first female architect from Queensland to serve in this prestigious position.
I wish you all a wonderful year ahead as you celebrate this very important milestone.