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Karen Davis Makes History

Tasmanian architect Karen Davis is the first woman to head Tasmania’s peak architecture body.

Karen Davis Makes History


April 4th, 2011

Karen Davis of Hobart’s CDA Architects has become the first woman President of the Tasmanian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) since the chapter was formed in 1903.

Davis runs Hobart-based firm CDA Architects with partner Rebecca Davis. CDA’s portfolio of work ranges from multi-million dollar aged care facilities and shopping centres to smaller residential projects and renovations.


Queensborough Rise Aged Care Facility


Strahaven Nursing Home

After recently attending an Honour Roll of Women presentation in Launceston, where Tasmania’s first registered female architect Margaret Keitha Findlay was acknowledged, Davis was struck by the similarity of issues faced by female architects in Findlay’s time and today.

“I found it fascinating that back in the 1940s the sort of issues that Margaret spoke about are still relevant today,” Davis said.

“Throughout Margaret’s career, she stressed the importance of domestic architecture to women’s health and happiness, talked of the need for proper town planning and advocated for improvements to the architectural diploma course for all students in Tasmania.

“I can imagine that the male domination of architecture at the time would have made it all the more difficult for Margaret to achieve what she did. Today we are fortunate that this imbalance has started to be addressed, with more than 30 per cent of Tasmanian architectural graduates being women, although history shows that a much lower percentage of them go on to become registered architects.”



Cygnet Primary School by CDA Architects

As President of the Tasmanian chapter of the AIA, Davis’ top priorities will be to:

–    promote excellence in architecture and urban design to make cities more liveable and sustainable;
–    ensure that the Institute’s response to the Major Cities Unit’s ‘Our Cities – A National Urban Policy’ consultation paper is promoted;
–    encourage governments to stop the unsustainable practice of expanding cities into their hinterlands;
–    increase urban density and amenity in existing areas.

Australian Institute of Architects

CDA Architects

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