Who we are


Jill Garner

Victorian Government Architect

Jill's architectural background includes an apprenticeship over ten years with several of Melbourne's influential design practices. She went on to co-found Garner Davis Architects, a St Kilda based studio, whose work has received numerous industry awards in over twenty years of practice. Based on her built and unbuilt work she was one of the early graduates of the innovative practice-based Masters by Design at RMIT.

She has taught at both RMIT and the University of Melbourne in design, contemporary history and architectural theory. She is a regular contributor to architectural events, awards juries, publications and journals, seminars and local and interstate lectures. Over a career of thirty years she has been a visible and active contributor to the discourse of architecture and a passionate advocate for design excellence.

Sophie Patitsas

Principal Adviser, Urban Design + Architecture

Sophie Patitsas brings over twenty years of urban design and architecture experience in government and the private sector to OVGA. She has spent a significant part of that time providing design review and advice on major public and private sector projects.

Sophie has practised urban design and architecture both locally and overseas, has served on selection panels and design advisory committees and regularly attends urban design and architecture critique sessions at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Sophie is a passionate advocate for design excellence in Victorian towns and cities.

David Islip

Principal Adviser, Urban Design + Architecture

David Islip is a registered architect with over twenty years experience in urban design, education, procurement and heritage. His experience includes the private and public sector with a focus on promoting design excellence. David has presented as an expert witness at VCAT, advised on major local government projects and authored urban design studies. David is the Deputy Chairperson of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV) and a member of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and Learning Environments Australasia. He has served on selection panels, awards juries and contributes to architectural journals and publications. David has taught and participated in urban design and architectural critique sessions at Melbourne University, RMIT, Deakin University, Monash University and the Robin Boyd Design Studios.

Thomas Alves

Acting Director, Victorian Design Review Panel

Tom Alves has fourteen years' experience in architectural practice in Sydney and Melbourne, where he has designed and overseen the construction of houses and community facilities. He was the recipient of both an APA(I) and AHURI Top-Up Scholarship for his PhD, Managing Medium Density Housing Development: A Municipal Case Study, which considered issues surrounding medium density housing in metropolitan Melbourne through a case study of the process in an inner/middle ring municipality.

Tom is interested in how the governance of the built environment affects design quality outcomes and since commencing at the OVGA in 2009, has provided policy advice in the fields of built environment design, housing provision and urban development.

Cara Wiseman

Coordinator, Victorian Design Review Panel

Cara Wiseman is an architectural graduate with wide-ranging experience across the built environment sector. Her Victorian experience in award-winning architecture firms and six years as a Building Estimator is complemented by roles at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in the UK and teaching roles at universities across Germany.

While at university Cara was the national Vice President of the Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA), sat on the Victorian Chapter Council of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and was awarded the AIA Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture in 2002.

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