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Gold Medal: Ken Maher

Architectural philosopher, landscape architect and urban design advocate: Professor Ken Maher is 2009 AIA Gold Medal recipient.

Gold Medal: Ken Maher


March 20th, 2009

“Ken Maher is a masterful collaborator and negotiator, with a calm and considered manner. His ability to identify the important issues and chart a clear course through conflicts has served the public interest on numerous occasions.

“His projects and our profession clearly benefit from not only Ken’s creativity but also his intelligence and civilized demeanour.” Jury Citation – AIA Gold Medal.

Professor Ken Maher has been awarded the AIA’s Gold Medal for his outstanding architectural work and contribution to the architectural profession.

Maher is the Chairman of HASSELL – the country’s largest multi-disciplinary design practice – and is credited with creating some of Sydney’s most iconic buildings, including the Olympic Park railway station, the National Institute of the Dramatic Arts (NIDA) buildings, the restoration of Sydney’s Luna Park and the new Epping to Chatswood rail link stations.

He has also worked on major projects in Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and China – completing a masterplan for the sustainable city centre in Ningbo – and is leading the design team for the new underground railway station in Singapore.

However, Maher’s contribution to architecture extends far beyond his buildings: he is actively involved in promoting the role of design as contributing to public life, referring to it as ‘art for the public’.

Academically he is a Professor of the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of NSW, Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Group and a board member of the University Foundation.

Following the award on Thursday 19 March, Maher gave a short presentation on the philosophy of his work – past, present and future. He explained his belief in what he calls ‘Deep Architecture’ – that is architecture that is more than just skin deep, that considers fully its impact on the environment and the way we live.

The evening included many kind words from Maher’s colleagues who described him as ‘philosophical’, ‘gentle’ and a ‘skillful negotiator’.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: “Few Sydney architects can cite as many public service roles, award-winning buildings and urban projects as can Ken Maher.

“I have known Ken for over 10 years and have watched with enormous respect his gentle yet astute demeanour shape Sydney’s physical and cultural landscape.”

Maher will tour the country delivering Gold Medal presentations at AIA State Chapter events.







Olympic Park Station (Patrick Bingham)



NIDA Theatre (Patrick Bingham)



Ningbo Masterplan, China



Fox Studios Carpark (Patrick Bingham)



ANZ Docklands



Signapore Circle Line



North Sydney Olympic Swimming Pool





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