Peter Maddison is awarded the 2016 National President’s Prize in recognition of his significant service to architecture outside practice.
Maddison graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1982 and subsequently worked with Peter Crone and Associates, Morris and Pirrotta and Cocks Carmichael before becoming a partner in McIntyre Partnership. During these years, Maddison was surrounded by a group of generous architects who operated under the principle of giving at least as much to the profession as one could expect to gain from it.
This formative period provided Maddison with an important and valuable apprenticeship and in 1989 he established Peter Maddison Architects, which evolved into Maddison Architects in 1993. Maddison Architects has enjoyed widely recognized success over almost three decades, and during this time Maddison has demonstrated a consistent commitment to supporting the profession outside practice.
Maddison has supported the Australian Institute of Architects generously and consistently over the past twenty years. Notable contributions have included participation in multiple awards juries, six years on the Victorian Awards Taskforce, chairing the Victorian Awards Juries in 2008, five years supporting the Small Practice Forum, authoring the current Client/Architect Agreement with the CAA Taskforce, four years’ active service as a Senior Councillor and six years’ service on the Victorian Honours Committee.
In 2009, Maddison was selected as the architect host of Grand Designs Australia after a nationwide talent search. His initial commitment was for a single season of ten episodes. Seven years later, the show has achieved incredible success and he is now arguably Australia’s most recognizable architect. Currently filming a seventh season, Maddison continues to document the impact of architecture on the lives of the people who embrace it in an honest and accessible way. He is not shy about questioning the merits of the projects that he visits, yet at the same time he has demonstrated a fantastic ability to promote the inherent value and appeal of architecture through very clear observations that can be easily interpreted by the general public. Maddison has played a large part in ensuring that architecture is at the front line of Australia’s increasing appetite for design and Grand Designs Australia now reaches an average 4.5 million Australian viewers annually. The show has also enjoyed international success and has been aired on prime-time TV and free-to-air TV in eleven countries throughout Asia.
Education has also been an important interest for Maddison, who recently authored the Grand Designs Australia Handbook – a reference book covering all aspects of architecture and building associated with residential design. He has supported the education of young architects through active participation at numerous schools of architecture, providing guest lectures and design critiques. In 2014, RMIT awarded Maddison a Doctor of Design Honoris Causa in recognition of his signification achievements and contributions to architecture in Australia.
Maddison’s inherent generosity extends to the community through his ongoing support of Kids Under Cover and ambassadorial roles with Open House Melbourne and Architects Without Frontiers. He enjoys a wonderful marriage to Andrea and an incredible relationship with his children Finn, Woody and Ruby. Among the many distractions, Maddison still manages to find the time to successfully practise architecture with the support of his team at Maddison Architects in South Melbourne. Maddison will always give far more to our profession than he would ever expect to receive and he is a deserved winner of the 2016 President’s Prize. He is a regular at the Icebergers at the Brighton Baths in Melbourne … Perhaps there is something in the water.
Jon Clements FRAIA – Australian Institute of Architects National President, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects