Ross Donaldson (right) is one of two recipients of the 2022 AIA WA Presidents Prize. Michelle Blakeley was the other recipient of the award (not pictured above). Left: Sandy Anghie, President AIA WA. Image: Supplied.
  • Ross Donaldson, former CEO and chairman of Woods Bagot won the Presidents Prize for 2022
  • Michelle Blakely of My Home also took out the 2022 Presidents Prize for WA
  • Substantial progress has been made across the sustainability, and social spaces of architecture

Ross Donaldson and Michelle Blakeley have been awarded the 2022 Australian Institute of Architects WA Presidents Prize.

The award recognises an individual’s contribution to the advancement of architecture in a significant way other than through design and practice.

Ross Donaldson

The former CEO and chairman of Woods Bagot has been a leading light for the sustainability shift in the built environment, both nationally and internationally.

Mr Donaldson’s work has involved data-driven methods to ensure cities were making good progress towards turning back the climate change clock.

“Ross Donaldson is exploring and working on how cities contribute to the climate change solution, not the problem ‐ leveraging the full potential of data analytics and algorithmic modelling to revolutionise the policies and the practice of city design for a more sustainable future.” 

Sandy Anghie, President, AIA WA

A comprehensive, seven-part Zero Carbon Design education series was created for the Australian Institute of Architects in 2020 by Mr Donaldson, whom also served on several committees, nationally, and has delivered numerous talks and papers on the topic of climate change.

Mr Donaldson’s advocacy for measuring “life cycle carbon” was particularly notable, LCC defined as carbon associated with a building from construction to operation and finally demolition.

“With the built environment accounting for 39% of emissions globally, we must measure. For the most part, we are not even measuring how much carbon there is in our buildings. If we are not measuring, how can we accurately understand how to reduce the amount of carbon by 50%, and then to net zero, within the critical timeframe? We absolutely must be now measuring the whole‐of‐life carbon in our buildings,” said Mr Donaldson.

Michelle Blakeley

With a focus on affordable housing and homelessness in Western Australia, Ms Blakeley is working in the social space of architecture.

“Ms Blakeley’s “My Home” project brings together Housing First, which is considered best practice for dealing with homelessness, and Public Private Partnership models for immediate, cost-efficient housing for homeless people in Western Australia.”

Sandy Anghie, President, AIA WA

“Ms Blakeley’s “My Home” model utilizes vacant State government and Church owned land which has been flagged for long term future use, such as road widening and rail expansion. When the cost of land acquisition is removed from the total cost of development, then provision of housing is much more affordable.”

Michelle Blakeley. Image: Supplied.

My Home housing projects are funded by tax deductible contributions from private sector corporations, foundations, and individuals. A Community Housing Provider manages the property and tenants as well as acting as a conduit to support services.

The first My Home project is currently under construction in North Fremantle and will be completed early next year.

“Most importantly, for us as architects, “My Home” is demonstrating very well designed, high performance, cost efficient, net zero emissions housing for the most disadvantaged people in WA, and reminds us that this modest housing deserves the same care and consideration are design for big‐budget luxury homes,” said Ms Blakeley.

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