Office of Queensland Government Architect
Our purpose is to support well-designed, healthy and sustainable environments to shape Queensland’s urban legacy.
The Office of The Queensland Government Architect (OQGA), led by the Queensland Government Architect Malcolm Middleton, provides design leadership, advocacy and advice to governments, industry and the community. OQGA is a whole-of-government position that sits within the Department of Energy and Public Works.
From strategy to demonstration, OQGA champions well-considered design thinking to help the resolution of critical urban and city challenges around public buildings and the public realm, housing and health, education, transport and mobility. Our aim is to have the earliest possible design conversations with the public and private sectors to ensure our cities and regions are the best they can be.
Why design matters
Across the world, the link between urban design and public health is irrefutable. Design is both a process and an outcome to help create better spaces and places to enrich and enhance people’s lives.
Queensland is a vast state with a variety of landforms and climates providing a unique network of cities and towns. To be sustainable, these cities and towns need to be liveable and functional. Places that attract, engage and retain people. Places where people choose to live, grow up, and grow old.
The health and well-being of our communities depend on good design. The quality of life: safety, delight, amenity, pride, function is all part of a better design agenda to ensure our cities and towns will not be left behind and will not become vulnerable and disadvantaged in the global rivalry for investment and talent.
“Good design is not just about the aesthetic improvement of our environment, it is as much about improved quality of life, equality of opportunity and economic growth”. - Commission for Architecture and the Build Environment (CABE), The Value of Good Design
What we do
By integrating design expertise, we work across government, the private sector and the community to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for all of Queensland. Our core responsibilities include:
- Design leadership that supports the Queensland Government Architect in promoting the value of good urban design across Queensland
- Design Advice through collaboration with numerous design professionals to ensure that project specific advice provided is of the highest standard
- Design thinking for resolving complex design problems in Queensland’s urban places
- Design excellence through the promotion of best practice outcomes though a variety of projects and awards
- Design advocacy that raises awareness of good design across the wider community by supporting and promoting a range of complimentary activities
- Provocations that critically consider the future of places and how they can be improved to the benefit of all Queenslanders.
Our core aim is to add value while balancing design, project constraints and commercial realities. We provide tailored solutions to any strategic or project specific design challenge as demonstrated across the following sectors:
- Housing: applying the work of the Density and Diversity Done Well Open Ideas competition to 20 demonstration housing projects and new Social Housing Guidelines.
- Health: supporting a Healthy Places, Healthy People agenda across the wide range of Health initiatives
- Education: promoting better design principles for Brisbane’s new Inner City High Schools and the renewal of other campuses.
- Transport: working collaboratively to support integrated and improved public realm outcomes for our cities
- The Arts: supporting high quality design outcomes to ensure a thriving arts culture.
- Planning: embedding a better design agenda into planning policy including the Shaping SEQ South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017.
Queensland Government Architect
Malcolm Middleton OAM LFRAIA
Malcolm Middleton was appointed as Queensland’s Government Architect in July 2011 and in this role, he is an advocate for the recognition of the value to all projects through well considered design processes. He came to Brisbane in 1981 and prior to his appointment as Government Architect had been a private practitioner for almost 30 years. He undertakes design reviews for projects across many areas of government and chairs the Queensland Urban Design and Places Panel.
Over the last 8 years he has been instrumental in developing a wider policy base within government for important major projects, delivery structures and urban renewal sites through the championing of design-based thinking into the initial stages of capital decision making processes.
He pioneered the QDesign work and has utilised this important policy work to provide more consistent design assessment processes through ShapingSEQ and the State Code 24 (Urban design trigger). In all his activities Malcolm has been consistent in his desire to promote and encourage a broader political and community discourse and understanding of the imperative for the good planning and design for our communities.
He also represents the interests of government on many external panels including the Design Development and Integrity Panel of Brisbane Airport Corporation, the Infrastructure Committee of UQ and advisory committees for other universities and industry associations.
In 2017 he was appointed to the Prime Ministers Official Residences Advisory Committee providing guidance for The Lodge and Kirribilli House and in 2019 was awarded the Planning Champion Award at the Queensland Planning Institute Australia Awards 2019.
A national role
The OQAO is a part of the Government Architects Network of Australia (GANA) which is a formalised, national collaborative group that meets annually to share valuable information and transfer knowledge and research.
- Last updated:
- 1 February 2021