The Case for Good Design


Our everyday lives are touched by the spaces and places that surround us. The quality of these places – our buildings, streets, parks – impacts our interactions, understandings and memories.

‘The Case for Good Design: A guide for government’ compiles recent research and evidence showing how design affects us. Through local and international case studies, the guide demonstrates the real impact of design decisions in our built environment. The document shows good design to be a valid, even an imperative, ambition in public projects.

Findings highlight the importance of embedding design quality in every stage of a project’s lifecycle to inform decision-making across a selection of building types. The guide is intended as a work-in-progress with further evidence added as it emerges, circulating awareness of current best practice in design.


You can access the Case for Good Design here or as specific typologies below:

Education - Case for Good Design

Healthcare - Case for Good Design

Housing - Case for Good Design

Justice - Case for Good Design

Transport - Case for Good Design

Urban Design - Case for Good Design

Workplace - Case for Good Design

Australian Urban Design Awards 2019

The 2019 Australian Urban Design Awards were announced in Melbourne on Wednesday 30 October. Convened by the Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and Australian Institute of Architects, the awards showcased collaborations across the disciplines.

We congratulate the 10 projects, including 4 from Victoria who received awards and commendations across categories for built projects as well as leadership, advocacy and research. The Ferrars Street Education and Community Precinct in Southbank by Tract received an award for Built projects – local and neighbourhood scale.

The Awards were preceded by a keynote address by Marijn Schenk, one of the founders of Netherlands-based practice Next Architects. Several built projects were presented, showcasing the ability of the practice to creatively respond to diverse conditions in a country grappling with the potential impacts of climate change. The Dafne Schippers Bicycle Bridge in Utrecht, The Netherlands integrates a bicycle and pedestrian bridge with an elementary school and a park.


Image above: Dafne Schippers Bicycle Bridge, photographer: Jeroen Musch, Leven op Daken en Marcel IJzerman

William Wardell Seminar

OVGA presents the William Wardell Seminar - The Invention of Melbourne: A Baroque Archbishop and a Gothic Architect.  Tuesday 8th October, 6pm - Old Treasury Building.  Book here.


Victorian Government Architect - Jill Garner
The Gothic Bank - Peter Lovell
St Patrick's Cathedral - Arthur Andronas

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St Patrick's Cathedral


OVGA seeks talented design student through DPC Internship Program

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Image above: Yiling Shen, former summer intern on a site visit to Bendigo Hospital. Photo by Sophie Patitsas

The Office of the Victorian Government Architect is seeking applications from current final or penultimate year undergraduate and Juris Doctor students to participate in the 2019/2020 DPC Summer Internship Program. The internship will be a twelve-week Summer Internship Program, which commences on Monday 2 December 2019 and concludes on Friday 21 February 2020.

OVGA are seeking applications from students of architecture and other built environment disciplines. The successful intern will work across a range of advocacy projects, including built environment research and publications, gaining exposure to the wide-ranging work the office is involved with.

Applications are now open and close at midday, Monday 9 September. Further details and information on how to apply can be found on the Careers Vic website here.

Federation Square Review

In April 2019 the Victorian Government committed to a review to inform the future of Federation Square’s built form and to ensure its long-term relevance and value to our city.

The Office of Victorian Government Architect will provide ongoing feedback to the Government over the course of the review. We encourage you to have your say here.


Photograph by John Gollings

Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club

The OVGA welcomes the official opening on 7 July 2019 of the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club by Wood Marsh Architects. Formed in 1948, the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club currently has over 1000 members, with approximately 350 of those junior or “nipper” members. The new facility replaces the one which was more than 25 years’ old, no longer fit for purpose and only catered for 250 members.

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View from the beach towards the Surf Club. Photograph by Chris McConville

Read more: Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club

The Future Park Design Ideas Competition

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'How can parks can shape Melbourne’s urban form?' is the proposition being explored through an ideas competition recently launched by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) in partnership with the University of Melbourne. The Future Park Design Ideas Competition challenges professional and emerging landscape architects, urban designers, architects and planners to speculate on new park possibilities for a future Melbourne. The competition aims to inspire an open and dynamic dialogue between built environment professionals, the broader community, government and developers.

The Office of the Victorian Government Architect is proud to sponsor this competition which promotes ‘reconciliation, biodiversity and evolving concepts of publicness and community’. An international panel of industry experts will judge the competition including Jill Garner, the Victorian Government Architect. Competition entries close on August 1 with the winners announced during the 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture in October.

More details can be found here

More details can be found at the following link

Transport infrastructure recognised at the Victorian Architecture Awards 2019

From rest areas and bridges to new train stations, several notable transport infrastructure projects were acknowledged in the Award categories for Urban Design and Public Architecture in recognition of their role in shaping urban and regional environments.  Awards to level crossing removals reinforced the public domain benefits associated with elevating rail in a growing city.

Read more: Transport infrastructure recognised at the Victorian Architecture Awards 2019

2019 Victorian Architecture Awards

The 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards Winners were announced on Friday 28th June. The OVGA congratulates all the winning projects, chosen from a strong field of work which represents some of the best new architecture in Victoria.

Read more: 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards

Melbourne Knowledge Week (MKW) 20 - 26th May 2019

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Image above: North Melbourne

The OVGA’s Melbourne Knowledge Week event showcased good design in intensifying inner Melbourne. In a day themed ‘living closer together’, the Victorian Government Architect chaired a discussion with three designers who spoke about their recent projects in North and West Melbourne. Architects James Legge of 6 Degrees Architecture’s development at the corner of King and Hawke Street - a precinct of medium density buildings, with single hung apartments around a courtyard. Joshua Wheeler of MGS Architects illustrated the design journey for Oznam House, resource centre and housing for homeless men. Skye Haldane from Melbourne City Council spoke about expanding green spaces in the ‘grey to green’ strategy and the design approach to reclaiming road space. All spoke to the role of good design and in a densifying area.

The event was also a launch of a self-guided walking map. This is a snapshot of North and West Melbourne and how it is adapting to densification. It steps past new buildings next to old, contemporary adaptations, modern classics from the 20th century, and reimagined green spaces. It highlights the existing character and new designs that responds well to the context. Densification is changing the precinct’s edges and the design of buildings and places is responding to effectively manage this evolution.

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