Melville, a graduate of The University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, is a principal with Warren and Mahoney, one of the country’s largest architecture practices. Before joining Warren and Mahoney in 2012 Melville was a long-time director of highly regarded Auckland practice RTA Studio.
Earlier in his career Melville worked for architecture firms in Auckland and London. He has been an assessor for the New Zealand Registered Architects Board for 10 years and served two terms on the Institute of Architects’ governing Council.
Melville said his election as President of the 4,100-member Institute of Architects comes at a busy and challenging time in the history of the organisation, which has represented New Zealand’s architects since 1905.
“While the Institute is stronger than ever, the environment architects work in has never been more complex,” Melville said. “What is really positive, though, is that the public’s interest in architecture, and its expectations of the design of our cities, towns and public places, is increasing all the time.”
“The Institute is keen to promote a greater popular understanding of architecture,” Melville said. “Rightfully, this puts pressure on architects to deliver the best possible results for their clients and their communities. Helping our members do this is core business for the Institute of Architects.”
Melville identified other issues confronting the Institute of Architects. He said an immediate focus of his presidency is the Government’s housing initiatives.
“KiwiBuild and Housing New Zealand both have ambitious goals that involve a significant commitment of public resources into communities and housing projects. These projects must be done well, therefore it’s crucial that design quality is integral to housing programmes.”
“The alternative is poorly planned housing developments that will require expensive remediation a decade down the track.”
“Design quality, like building quality, is not a ‘nice to have’,” Melville said. “In 2018, in the light of all the expensive lessons we have learned over the past 20 years, it should be a given, not just for housing, but for all Government building and infrastructure projects.”
“We’re pleased that responsible Government ministers are acknowledging this position, and we hope their officials are, too.”
Melville said another focus of his presidency is building on the progress made by his predecessor Christina van Bohemen on the construction industry’s Diversity Agenda, which addresses the issues of gender equity and cultural responsiveness.
“Christina championed the importance of career paths for women in the architecture profession and was committed to a strong relationship with Māori design practitioners.”
“These will remain priorities for the Institute of Architects, and for me as President,” Melville said.
Like all Institute of Architects Presidents, Melville will balance his professional responsibilities as a practising architect with his institutional duties, which in the near future include attending local Architecture Awards events and the conference of fraternal organisation the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and presiding over this September’s nationwide Festival of Architecture.
“I’m honoured to take up the Presidency of the Institute of Architects,” Melville said. “It’s a significant role in a fast-changing profession, and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to communicate the value of architecture to our communities and to support decision makers invest in architecture.”