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SA Integrated Design Commission Axed

South Australia’s first step towards integrated design is being scrapped, and the local design community is not happy. Anthony Caggiano investigates.

SA Integrated Design Commission Axed


June 1st, 2012

South Australia’s design industry has been shocked to hear the Integrated Design Commission (IDC) will be axed at the end of the year. The news came with the handing down of the state budget earlier this week.

Started in late 2009, the IDC was the first South Australian government strategy that pulled design resources together, to achieve greater outcomes for projects across the state.

The 5000+ initiative, a design-led project for the redesign, renewal and reactivation of inner Adelaide, has been its biggest tangible achievement. The first statewide mapping of the integrated design sector, Australia’s first Zero Carbon Challenge, and design assistance with more than 30 public and private sector projects were also achieved through the project.

Integrated Design Commissioner Tim Horton, whose position was meant to finish on June 30, has had his role extended until the end of 2012 to enable him to finish his work.

The government architect role, held by Ben Hewett, will continue.

State treasurer Jack Snelling said the IDC has played a key role in promoting innovation across design, planning and development.

“South Australia’s leadership in good design, integrated planning and quality urban development remains strong. That strength will remain through the continued role of the South Australian Government Architect, as well as initiatives like the Urban Renewal Authority and a more integrated department of planning, transport and infrastructure,” he said.

“The work of the IDC has also led to the new requirement for Design Review Panels to advise on large developments in our city. This initiative will protect the liveability of our city into the future.”

A petition, ’Save the Integrated Design Commission’, was launched by HASSELL architect Sam Jeyaseelan yesterday, and had attracted more than 1000 votes at last count.

South Australian design bodies have labelled the decision as “short-sighted” and are worried the government architect role won’t cover the same ground, or pull together the same talent pool, as the IDC.

Design Institute of Australia SA Branch Co-Presidents Brendon Harslett and Simon Dodd said all designers will lose the breadth of advocacy to secure support via funding. This includes the Advanced Manufacturing Strategy announced on Tuesday.

“The IDC is an important link between the collaborative design associations in SA, and is the dynamic and inspiring approach by the government that will foster confidence and resurgence into our design driven economies,” they said.

“This decision to remove the IDC is short sighted with no view to the future, restricting SA to a narrow, limited economic base, conforming to a ’follow the other states’ mentality once again.”

Australian Institute of Architects SA Chapter President Nick Tridente said the 5000+ initiative, which ends at the end of June, was a tangible benefit.

“5000+ looked at cross pollination to achieve the best outcomes,” Tridente said. “North Terrace took about 10 years, but it’s the first collaboration between everyone (all design professions). Its success is measured by the number of people who use it.”

AGDA SA Chapter President Kellie Campbell-Illingworth said the move was a “massive shock”.

“We feel we finally had a spotlight on design… basically it’s effectively gone out,” she said.

Integrated Design Commission

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