Women leading the way in 2016

There is no doubt that Victoria has some incredible architectural talent across the full spectrum of architectural practice. Our cities, towns and neighbourhoods are being continually enriched by the high quality architecture being produced by Victoria’s architects. Perhaps in the past what has not been as visible is the contribution women make to our urban fabric. In 2016 it is clear that this visibility issue is changing.

At the top of the tree providing key leadership at the government advisory and regulatory level are three very accomplished women.

  • Victorian Government Architect – Jill Garner
  • Architects Registration Board of Victoria, Registrar – Alison Ivey
  • Victorian Building Authority CEO – Prue Digby

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects now has seven brilliant women on chapter council. Soon to be leading this council is the incoming AIA Victorian Chapter President – Vanessa Bird (co-founder of Bird de la Coeur Architects). It is important to note that all of these individuals were elected from institute members, a sign in itself about who architects want to represent them. Credit must also go to Victorian Chapter Manager Alison Cleary for her efforts in supporting diversity.

In Victoria there is also an amazing depth of female talent in the early career architects. In fact it is clearly obvious that women in this category are outperforming the men. Take for example Claire Cousins, Rebecca Naughtin, Mel Bright and Amy Muir , the four most recent recipients of the Victorian Emerging Architect Award. All of these women are producing extraordinary work and contributing significantly to the architectural community.

On this International Women’s Day, it is fitting to spread the spotlight even further to highlight the talent of some of Victoria’s quiet achievers doing extraordinary things.


Maria DanosMaria Danos
Maria Danos spent 18 years unleashing her talents at the award winning MA Architects and  Neometro TM. More recently in 2015 she decided to embark on a new journey running her own practice. Her latest project is a beautiful café fit out in Mont Albert. In just 10 months the project went from the initial concept design, through the town planning process to project construction and completion.

Mister andMiss Cafe Maria Danos

Maria also has a strong record of supporting the architecture profession through tutoring, mentoring and participation as a jury member in the AIA architecture awards.

Yvonne MengYvonne Meng Yvonne Meng has a background providing design expertise within the City of Melbourne. Last year she launched her own practice Von Atelier. In her freshly founded practice, Yvonne has some exciting projects in development. It is clear from her early conceptual work that it is only a matter of time before we see some excellent finished architecture from Von Atelier.
Peak+House+View Von Atelier
Yvonne has been a massive contributor to the culture of Architecture in Melbourne having curated the Process architecture talks for four years. She has also taught extensively and is currently on the AIA editorial committee.
Claire ScorpoClare Scorpo Claire Scorpo has been leading her own practice Claire Scorpo Architects since 2013 and already has a very impressive body of work. She has won multiple Archi Team awards for her residential work and is a clear rising star in the profession. Her work displays a highly crafted materiality as evidenced in projects such as Shoreham II

shoreham-ii- Claire Scorpo

Claire also gives back to the profession through teaching at RMIT which she has done since 2011

Jane Cameron FinlayJane-Cameron-Finlay Prior to starting her own practice in 2010, Jane Cameron Finlay had an extensive international career with a variety of notable practices. Over the last six years her practice has covered a wide range of residential, interiors and retail projects all exhibiting strong design sensibilities.


Jane has previously been involved with the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects Member Services Committee and Practice of Architecture Committee as well providing mentoring under the constructive mentoring program.

Delia TeschendorffDelia Teschendorff Having started her practice in 2009, Delia Teschendorff must surely now be considered in the top tier of architects working in Melbourne. Her work is an exemplar for what architects can do if they are given the scope and the resources to make space.

Pictured below is Rhythm House which was designed for a family of musicians. The craftsmanship and the delight which is found throughout her work is extraordinary.

Rhythm House Delia Teschendorff

As well as running her practice, Delia has taught architecture studios and construction at a variety of universities. She is also currently working on her PHD at Monash University.

This snapshot of the Melbourne architecture profession highlights a small portion of the current and emerging success stories of women in the profession. These successes are despite the architecture profession having a variety of inequitable biases which make practicing architecture more difficult that it need be. The Australian Institute of Architects National Committee for Gender Equity along with Parlour are working harder than ever to reshape the profession into a more equitable and sustainable profession.

Happy International Women’s Day

Architecture is for Everyone


About Michael Smith

Architect and Director of Atelier Red + Black based in Melbourne, Australia
This entry was posted in all posts, construction industry, Gender Equity in Architecture, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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