The Office for Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) is South Australia’s Government design office charged with carrying on the work of the Integrated Design Commission, which ended on 31 December 2012.
ODASA provides leadership and strategic advice on design, architecture and urban design to the South Australian Government. This advice is provided through support for major projects, Design Review programs and the publication of design guidelines. ODASA works towards the broad principles of integrated design to enable, connect and add value through design with a strategic focus, by assisting in project delivery and developing innovation in the public sector.
Benjamin Hewett, the South Australian Government Architect, leads the ODASA team. Ben Hewett has held this position since 2011 when he was appointed as both South Australian Government Architect and Executive Director of the Integrated Design Commission SA. Prior to this, Ben was a Senior Lecturer with the University of Technology School of Architecture and Director of Offshore Studio, an architectural design research practice.
A key focus for ODASA in the year ahead is the management of its Design Review Programs, which includes the Capital City Design Review Panel. The ODASA Design Review Panel is a voluntary design review process that reviews significant development proposals across South Australia. Overwhelmingly, the process has improved the quality of the design proposals that have been assessed to date.
The Capital City Design Review Panel is the result of a new policy framework for development in the City of Adelaide, introduced in April 2012. As part of the policy changes, the State Government’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) is offering a new pre-lodgement service to proponents of development proposals over $10 million in the Adelaide City Council area.
An essential part of the DPTI process is the role of the Capital City Design Review Panel. The Panel assists the South Australian Government Architect in discharging referral responsibilities to the Development Assessment Commission (DAC). The independent referral advice to the DAC is on the design quality of development applications. The Panel comprises preeminent Australian designers who will help ensure that projects in Adelaide contribute to the public domain and work in relation to current and future contexts.
In addition to its Design Review programs, ODASA will be protoyping design-led thinking and methodologies within the public sector. Complex issues including demographic pressures, fiscal constraint and the ever-increasing expectations on the public sector require a new approach to existing solutions. The ways of working program, led by ODASA, uses a design approach to address these challenging issues.
Importantly, ODASA will also continue to drive the outcomes of the Integrated Design Strategy for inner Adelaide (5000+). This national pilot showed how a collaborative process between design and planning professionals, different levels of government, business, industry and community could work to develop a great Australian city for the 21st century.
Many of the recommendations and ideas that were highlighted throughout this project are now evident across inner Adelaide. For example, the coordinated approach to the Greater Riverbank Precinct, now coordinated by Renewal SA; the emerging laneway network in the city; small venue licenses and more authentic community engagement processes.
The structure of ODASA includes a newly appointed Associate Government Architect and Strategic Designer, and a small team of design and administrative specialists.
Kirsteen Mackay joins ODASA as the Associate Government Architect after four years as head of design review at the UK’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and 15 years in private practice. Kirsteen brings extensive practical experience to support the design review programs. Learning from design review in order to positively influence future policy and to disseminate good design practice are both critical components of the design review process and central to ODASA’s work this year.
Sharon Mackay joins the ODASA team as Strategic Designer to continue the ways of working established throughout the Integrated Design Strategy. Sharon has already been leading design workshops across Government, promoting lateral thinking to enable innovation. With 16 years experience as a Landscape Architect, her role also includes strategic design advice on urban design processes and methodologies.
The team at ODASA looks forward to publishing design guidelines this year that will consolidate recent work with industry, the community and Government. ODASA will continue to work towards promoting and enabling design excellence in South Australia.