University of Sydney architect named president of peak body
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University of Sydney architect named president of peak body

Paul Berkemeier: "It’s very important that the architecture profession has a voice."

Paul Berkemeier, an adjunct professor at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, will become the next president of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Berkemeier said he was honoured to be appointed to the prestigious position at the AIA – an organisation that he says has a crucial role to play representing architects both as students and professionals.

“It’s a broad organisation that has to understand the pressures on an architect in Darwin and a student in Hobart. I’m glad to continue working to bridge practice and academe,” said Berkemeier, who is also an alumnus of the University.

“It’s very important that the profession has a voice,” he added. “The institute is very effective as a place for like minds to come and discuss issues that affect the practice of architecture.”

Berkemeier combines his AIA responsibilities with his position in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, where he currently teaches students in Urban Architecture Research Studio in the Master of Architecture.

“Teaching is very useful for a practitioner because it becomes a way to reflect on your own approach to architecture,” he commented. “It’s not just about imparting your knowledge and ability, but also about learning from students the different ways that you can conceive of a problem and create solutions.

“Teaching is valuable in that respect,” said Berkemeier, currently director the firm Paul Berkemeier Architect.

Berkemeier’s professional achievements include winning the prestigious international design competition for the Barangaroo development (with collaborators Hill Thalis and Jane Irwin Landscape) and designing the multiple-award winning Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

He has been closely involved with the AIA for over 15 years, including terms as chair of the NSW education committee and as a national councillor, and now president-elect.

His term as national president begins in May 2013.