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Who is leading the charge? This year’s NAWIC winners give us the answers

NAWIC – otherwise known as the National Association of Women in Construction – held its Awards for Excellence in February, heralding the leaders of cultural change in construction and design.

Who is leading the charge? This year’s NAWIC winners give us the answers

Left-right, Aleksandra Gorgieva and Hope Dryden.

In discussing the prestigious ceremony NAWIC co-president, Elizabeth Brookes, described NAWIC’s Awards for Excellence as celebrating “the contributions that women make to the construction industry at all career levels and in all sectors”.

“But this year a common characteristic has emerged, and many of the recipients have made it their mission to build businesses that support diversity and inclusion,” notes Brookes.

From the 12 award winners, two stood out as the exemplar of design.

Aleksandra Gorgieva took home the MPA Award for Achievement in Construction, Refurbishment and Fitout, for leading the integrated fit-out at NAB Place.

Aleksandra Gorgieva pictured at NAB Place, Sydney.

The innovative fit-out of NAB’s headquarters in Sydney paved the way for the next-generation workplace, utilising a seamless connection between the heritage-listed Shell House, and the Carrington Street Tower.

As the lead project manager, Gorgieva drew on her extensive site management experience to forge partnerships with developer Brookfield, builder Multiplex, and NAB, and tackled numerous challenges to craft what has been recognised as an exceptional fit-out for over 2000 NAB employees.

The second stand-out was Hope Dryden, winning the Hassell Innovation in Design Award for departing not only from traditional architectural practices, but embracing a smaller environmental footprint.

Being a recent graduate in 2016, Hope’s first venture, post-university, was creating her own footprint in using prefabricated mass Australian timber.

Incubator Building at Macquarie University.

Tasked with designing the Incubator and Ainsworth buildings for Macquarie University, Hope crafted an eco-friendly and efficient icon – a departure from the expected in this sector of education and design.

Hope effectively brought to life what was to be a temporary building, but the Incubator Building being universally loved is likely to remain.

With the award winners leading the charge of safe, inventive, and environmentally sustainable construction, it highlights the cultural shift in this industry.

Incubator Building at Macquarie University.
Incubator Building at Macquarie University.

 “While we are making great strides forward in driving the cultural change necessary to promote diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance, we still have a lot of work ahead,” says Brookes.

“Just 12 per cent of employees in our industry are female and Infrastructure Australia predicts a skills shortage of more than 105,000 jobs by 2023.

“Securing a pipeline of female talent is mission-critical for our nation.”

A worthy mission for a nation to embrace.


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