When I look at the on this page, I pick up important messages. The wording is telling us all that the National Convention, "Architecture 2000" in Sydney will give you the opportunity to hear speakers from aIl over the world, meet up with your colleagues and participate in a wide range of activities. The chance to visit the Olympic Games Site prior to the opening should not be missed. In September I toured part of the Site prior to attending the London opening of the Olympic Buildings exhibition. There is a strong commitment to the concept of the "green games", and feedback from the RIBA indicates that the Exhibition has attracted great interest. The words also tell us that we mustn’t forget the Sponsors continuing to support our major activities, and that the ‘big A’ will always be present in varying forms.
I also look beyond the words, to the picture, and remind myself of the influences that our natural environment has had on the settlements that we inhabit . How the planning and ultimate forms of those settlements can vary so much says a lot about our adaptability, but as much about our varying levels of understanding.
I recently spent two days at a relatively remote piece of WA coast with three London architects. They hadn’t been there before, hadn’t fished from a dinghy, seen a craypot or experienced this unique type of landscape. By the time we had spent hours photographing waves, bushes, sky and ripples in the sand dunes, they went away with more knowledge than I thought I had; they hadn’t forgotten how to observe, in taking the time to look at the influences of the sun and the wind, and the significance of our interpretation of the forces. The knowledge gained not only influences the building forms that these guys produce, but the way they think about function, construction detail and place - making. Recall the inspirational A S Hook Address from Richard Le Plastrier at the 1999 Housing Conference, and you’ll know what I mean. I suspect that our 2000 Gold Medallist John Morphett may reveal different forces acting on the built environment and the practice of Architecture. Such is the importance of constant learning, and the importance of our National Conventions and Conferences as sources of inspiration. As I approach the twilight of the National Presidency, I recall that I started out talking about Place, Education and Business as all being important terms of reference for ongoing debate…this has not changed.