Melbourne-based architect Kerstin Thompson
Kerstin Thompson is the recipient of the AIA Gold Medal for 2023. Image: Supplied
  • Kerstin Thompson is the 2023 recipient of the AIA Gold Medal
  • The award recognises innovative and outstanding architectural works
  • Thompson's work is internationally renowned

Melbourne-based architect and Creative Design Director Kerstin Thompson is the latest recipient of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal for 2023.

The Gold Medal acknowledges outstanding works that present the architecture industry in a distinguished light. It’s the highest honour the AIA can bestow on an individual.

Throughout the year of their award, the Gold Medal recipient travels to every Australian state and territory to present speeches regarding their works and experiences in the architecture industry.

Thompson’s internationally renowned design practice is regarded as a significant and innovative reference point in Australian architecture and urban design.

Her practice was awarded with the Victorian Architecture Medal in 2020 and the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture in 2022.

Thompson’s award-winning efforts often place emphasis on sustainable principles, with her designs harmoniously blending with their natural surroundings. Her work has also set new precedents in lengthening the lifespan of existing buildings.

Moreover, the breadth of Thompson’s architectural accomplishments extends to the field of heritage architecture.

Chief among them is the Melbourne Holocaust Museum which makes use of highly detailed yet simple design elements, serving to establish a resonance between the old and the new to preserve the memory.

AIA Gold Medal Jury Chair, Past National President, and Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects (LFRAIA) Shannon Battisson expressed effusive words for Thompson’s work.

“Spanning varying scales, from large public projects to intricate domestic architecture, Thompson’s sublime work is at once generous, bold and highly nuanced,” Battison said.

“Her design ethos favours subtle expression and graciousness over force, and her propensity to address some of the biggest issues of our time.”

Shannon Battisson, AIA Gold Medal Jury Chair

Battison added Thompson’s contribution to architectural discourse, in her capacity as an educator and keynote speaker, holds an equal amount of significance in her three decades of work.

“Through her work in academia and as a role model for women in the profession, she is an inspiration to the profession as a whole and to future generations of architects,” Battison said.

“Further, she has displayed dedication to the profession through extensive efforts with the Australian Institute of Architects, including ‘captaincy’ at the 2019 National Architecture Conference, creative directorship of the 2005 National Architecture Conference, co-curatorship of Australia’s official contribution to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, and participation in countless design panels and juries – all while leading her practice with a level of skill, consideration and aesthetic to which many aspire.”

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