A NSW Government website

About the Government Architect

Working across government, the private sector and the community to improve built-environment outcomes for NSW

The Government Architect NSW works across government, the private sector and the community to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for NSW and all of our communities.

The team aims to:

  • Champion – promote, educate and advocate for design awareness and excellence on behalf of Government, its agencies and partners.
  • Connect – foster public and private sector partnerships, collaboration and design collaboration across built environment initiatives.
  • Advise – provide strategic and independent advice and quality review to support best practice and outcomes for design projects.

The Government Architect NSW supports the NSW Government and helps it deliver quality built-environment projects, manage risk and foster innovation to create people-centred places.

In acknowledging the traditional Aboriginal custodians of the land and their unique cultural relationships to place, Government Architect NSW seeks to uphold the idea that, 'If we care for Country - It will care for us'.

Meet the Government Architect

The Government Architect leads the office and activities of the Government Architect NSW to champion and facilitate better design outcomes across government, the private sector and the community. The Government Architect performs several statutory roles including delegated responsibility for the department’s design excellence functions.

The Government Architect (or their delegate) chairs the State Design Review Panel, and is a member of numerous boards and committees including Central Sydney Planning Committee, the NSW Architect’s Registration Board, NSW Heritage Council, Anzac Memorial Board of Trustees and Sydney Opera House Conservation Council. They also sit on various state and local government design review panels.

The Government Architect NSW team were awarded the AIA 2024 Leadership in Sustainability Prize for showcasing exceptional leadership in all aspects of sustainability and commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Government Architect NSW team is led by Abbie Galvin LFRAIA, the 24th Government Architect in the more than 200-year history of the organisation. Abbie brings experience from a 30-year career leading architectural practice across multiple project sectors. Abbie is the recipient of over 40 state, national and international architectural awards, is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and received the Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work in the field of Architecture.

Government Architect NSW Abbie Galvin LFRAIA, along with directors Olivia Hyde LFRAIA and Paulo Macchia FRAIA form the Government Architect NSW executive team.
Abbie, along with directors Olivia Hyde LFRAIA and Paulo Macchia FRAIA form the Government Architect NSW executive team.

Olivia brings experience from 30 years in high-profile practices across Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom and is also closely involved in teaching architecture, most recently as Professor of Practice at the University of Sydney.

Paulo combines skills he has gained from 20 years in the public and private sectors to lead strategy, policy and procurement initiatives that realise public benefits from design. He also established and chairs the Land and Housing Corporation Centre for Design, which works to improve the design quality of social housing in NSW.

David provides 25 years of experience in urban design and urban planning in the public and private sectors across Australia, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. He has experience in all types and sizes of master plans, from city-wide, regional and community planning, ranging from residential, commercial, mixed use, industrial, and leisure and entertainment.

Using their skills and knowledge as designers and practitioners, the Government Architect NSW team advocates for and supports the delivery of the great and resilient places expected by the people of NSW.

Government Architect NSW team
  • Abbie Galvin, LFRAIA, Government Architect, Executive Director, ARN 6501
  • Amos Fu, Student Planning Officer
  • Angus Bell, Senior Design Advisor, ARN 9970
  • Barbara Schaffer, Principal Design Advisor, FAILA
  • Barnaby Bennett, Senior Design Advisor
  • Ben Campbell, Operations and Communications Manager, ARN 7712
  • Brindha Kugan, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 8711
  • Brooke Matthews, Senior Design Advisor
  • Chris Taylor, Senior Design Advisor, ARN 9625
  • Claire Krelle, Principal Design Advisor
  • Darlene van der Breggen, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 4646
  • David Burge, Director Urban Design
  • Dillon Kombumerri, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 6509
  • Elizabeth Bowra, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 8178
  • Emma Kirkman, Principal Design Advisor
  • Gabriela Heesh, Executive Assistant
  • Gail Fletcher, Project Officer
  • Grace Mortlock, Senior Design Advisor, ARN 9875
  • Grace Wolstencroft, Senior Design Advisor
  • Guy Pinkerton, Senior Design Advisor
  • Isabel Gallego Estaben, Senior Design Advisor
  • Jillian Hopkins, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 8761
  • Joe Burraston, Principal Design Advisor
  • John Kurko, Manager Urban Design, ARN 10003
  • Lucy Rimmer, Senior Design Advisor
  • Marco Geretto, Principal Design Advisor
  • Marta Broda, Senior Design Advisor, ARN 10275
  • Martina Novakova, Senior Design Advisor
  • Mel Richmond, Senior Design Advisor
  • Melizza Morales, Principal Design Advisor
  • Mia Tulumovic, Design Advisor
  • Nick Cappetta, Senior Urban Designer
  • Olivia Hyde, LFRAIA, Director Design Excellence, ARN 8665
  • Olivia Savio-Matev, Senior Design Advisor
  • Parisa Pakzad, Senior Urban Designer, RLA 3070
  • Paulo Macchia, FRAIA, Director Design Governance, ARN 8098
  • Rebecca Donney, Design Officer
  • Riki Mey, Senior Design Advisor
  • Rory Toomey, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 7743
  • Rose Davies, Senior Design Advisor, ARN 10812
  • Rowanne Couch, Project Manager
  • Sachin Baral, Urban Designer
  • Sarah Lawlor, Principal Design Advisor, ARN 10627
  • Shilpa Singh, Urban Designer
  • Solmaz Khabir, Urban Designer
  • Tyson Ryan, Senior Design Advisor
  • Victoria Hamilton, Project Officer
  • Zoi Flannery, Executive Planning Officer

LFRAIA: Life Fellowship – Australian Institute of Architects

FRAIA: Fellowship – Australian Institute of Architects

ARN: Architect Registration Number (NSW Architects Registration Board)

FAILA: Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

RLA: Registered Landscape Architect (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects)

Our history

Providing public facilities, structures and buildings – identified collectively as public works – has been an essential concern of public officials from the foundation of the British colony of New South Wales in 1788. Governor Phillip’s commission included building those ‘castles, cities, boroughs, towns and fortifications’ he thought necessary, and he immediately ordered construction of a road, wharf and bridge as well as buildings at Sydney Cove.

By 1800, there were about 150 people in the civil service looking after basic public buildings, roads, bridges, wharves, dockyard facilities, navigational aids, water supply, sewerage and drainage works that were essential to maintaining the penal settlement.

However, it was from Lachlan Macquarie’s term as Governor from 1810 to 1821 that an organisation dedicated to public works was created. It included a program of works, an inspector of public works, and a civil architect – Francis Greenway.

Including Francis Greenway’s term as the first civil architect, there have been 24 civil, colonial or government architects, all contributing to the design, planning supervision and construction of public works in NSW.

Term in officeName
1816 to 1822Francis Howard Greenway
1822 to 1824Standish Lawrence Harris
1825 to 1826George Cookney
1832 to 1835Ambrose Hallen
1835 to 1849Mortimer Lewis
1849 to 1854Edmund Thomas Blacket
1854 to 1856William Weaver
1856 to 1862Alexander Dawson
1862 to 1890James Barnet
1890 to 1911Walter Liberty Vernon
1912 to 1923George McRae
1923 to 1926Gorrie McLeish Blair
1927 to 1929Richard McDonald Seymour Wells
1929 to 1935Edwin Smith
1935 to 1958Cobden Parkes
1958 to 1973Edward Herbert Farmer
1973 to 1974Geoffrey Phillip Webber
1974 to 1978Charles Percy Weatherburn
1978 to 1988John Whyte (Ian)Thomson
1988 to 1995Lindsay Kelly
1995 to 2005Chris Johnson
2005 to 2012Peter Mould
2012 to 2018Peter Poulet
2019 to the presentAbbie Galvin