Community based architects must be engaged to assist regulators and the construction industry overcome resistance to change, which is stifling the development of credible residential accommodation in Australia, according to Archicentre Australia.

Regulatory bodies and the greater part of the residential construction industry are not known for their ability to innovate for the public good – rather for their own opportunistic ends, Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev says, and the situation is highlighted throughout Australia.

“This situation has seen the construction industry improve productivity to suit itself during the past 50 years or so and has resulted in the adoption of far too much sameness – The Architectural Review magazine has referred to this phenomenon as “Notopia” – i.e. the opposite of Utopia.

“Lack of quality in construction techniques means most residential housing does not suit the lifestyle requirements of occupants and does not allow for sustainable living taking advantage of climate, location and site attributes.”

Peter Georgiev says there are a number of new trends emerging in housing, such as build-to-rent and co-living, that could benefit greatly from the input of architects.

“This input would ensure the inclusion of credible design elements to make these developments much more than simply trends – they can and should exhibit appealing attributes of material quality, utility and longevity.

“Architects fully understand the forces that make these models appealing, including affordability.

“For this reason, regulatory authorities and the construction industry need to engage with architects in order to optimise longer term benefits for occupants and society.”

The Archicentre Australia director says with build-to-rent and co-living still relative newcomers in Australia’s residential accommodation sector, it is not too late for the powers-to-be to engage in constructive dialogue with architects.

“Rather than burying their heads in the sand and going with the flow, as has been the case for decades, authorities must embrace the change process – some of which include traditional techniques and materials – and this can only be delivered by architects with an altruistic bent.

“The change must be embraced by authorities at all levels, from government bodies through to town planners, as well as by the entire residential construction industry, including financiers.

“Traditional planning regulations will not provide satisfactory outcomes for the emerging residential alternatives and the entire industry must change.

“Only this way,” Peter Georgiev says, “will built-to-rent and co-living provide satisfactory, comfortable, sustainable, attractive and affordable residential options.

“Consumers are beginning to demand these alternatives and architects must play a role in giving them what they want – we should look to European examples.

“Archicentre Australia architects work creatively to broker innovative non-standard design solutions with individual clients but must also do so with authorities in order to bring about worthwhile overall change.

“Architects have a vital role to play in ensuring that future generations can live collectively and affordably in Australian cities,” he adds.

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This media release has been written and distributed by:

Archicentre Australia

Peter Georgiev, Director

Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,

Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102

Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950