Helen Lochhead

Dean of built environment at the University of NSW, Helen Lochhead, will be taking up the role of president of the Australian Institute of Architects from May 2019, taking over from Clare Cousins.

Professor Lochhead has a substantial track record in the architecture, urban design, sustainability and landscape architecture arenas.

Prior to her role at UNSW, she was deputy NSW government architect, executive director of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and executive director sustainability of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

In January this year, Professor Lochhead was also appointed chair of the Sydney South Planning Panel. The SSPP is one of five such bodies instigated by the state government, and will oversee major development proposals in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River and Sutherland local government areas.

She has said that independent design panels are instrumental in supporting policy-based decisions that improve the quality of Sydney’s buildings and urban spaces.

“Sydney is considered one of the world’s most liveable cities, but the challenge is to make sure it stays that way. South-western Sydney is a significant growth area for development and will see a huge population lift in the next decade,” Professor Lochhead said.

“It’s up to the independent panels to assess whether developments are suited to the regions. It will allow for a non-partisan review of the merits of a proposal, separate from the local councils.”

Her role as AIA president is expected to see greater research collaboration and knowledge exchange between industry and government.

In a UNSW statement, Professor Lochhead said she was looking to further align university and professional expectations including continuing postgraduate and professional development education.