Jill Garner - Victorian Government Architect

My name's Jill Garner and I have the privilege of being Victoria's Government Architect.

I lead a small team of professionals.

We're architects, we are landscape architects and urban designers.

We're a statewide service that offers both advice and advocacy work to state government and local government.

We sit in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, but we're tasked to operate right across government.

We might one day be looking at a railway station. The next day we might be talking to the Department of Justice about a new court building.

At the moment, we're engaged in looking at Fed Square, which involves even the Department of Industry.

Because design is not about the final kind of the decorative elements that go onto a program.

It's actually about a deeply embedded decision about how this particular program works in a place.

Because of that, sometimes you can make the wrong decision when you decide to face a building a certain way, where the entry is, how you access it, how close to the station it is.

Those things have real impact.

So from our point of view, the very best time to come and talk to us is when you're working up a brief because you do need to have a brief that matches your budget.

The other really important thing is once you put pen to paper and start deciding how this building is going to approach its context, bring it to us very early so that some peer review or some independent eyes can be put on your decision making, it might stop you from hurtling down a path that might get unintended consequences.

Our primary concern is that the community is valued, that the community is worthy of having an environment made of good materials, that is clean, is well serviced.

They're the kind of nuances of design that a government architect can, if they're sitting around the table, just remind government that this will get you to an outcome that serves the community better.

If we can look at every government project through the lens of design and say what's in it for our community, it always brings us to a better place.