The role of the Government Architect

The Government Architect has responsibility for leading the activities of the Government Architect NSW (GANSW) including developing and maintaining relationships across Government. The Government Architect performs several statutory roles including delegated responsibility for the Department’s design excellence functions.

The Government Architect (or delegate) chairs the State Design Review Panel and also sits on numerous boards and review panels including Central Sydney Planning Committee, the NSW Architect’s Registration Board, NSW Heritage Council and Sydney Opera House Conservation Council. They also sit on numerous state and local government design review panels.

Abbie Galvin is the Government Architect working alongside the executive team to lead the activities of GANSW:

  • Olivia Hyde, Director of Design Excellence
    Professor of Practice (Architecture), University of Sydney
  • Paulo Macchia, Director Design Governance

Government Architect NSW Team

The GANSW team represents a wide range of expertise and diverse experiences.

Members of the team include:

  • Alicia Pozniak, A/Principal Design & Research
  • Angus Bell, Senior Design Advisor
  • Barbara Schaffer, Principal Design & Green Infrastructure
  • Ben Hewett, Director Integrated Design (seconded to Group Deputy Secretary’s Office, Housing and Property, DPIE to March 2021)
  • Carol Marra, Senior Design Advisor
  • Caroline Peta Comino, Senior Design Advisor
  • Diana Snape, A/Principal Policy & Partnerships
  • Darlene van der Breggen, Principal Design Review Precincts
  • Dillon Kombumerri, Principal Design & Country
  • Emma Kirkman, Principal Design Review
  • Gabriela Heesh, Executive Assistant to Government Architect
  • Gail Fletcher, Project Officer Design Review
  • George Savoulis, Senior Design Advisor
  • Jane Threlfall, Principal Design & Guidance
  • Jillian Hopkins, A/Principal Design Management
  • Marc Lane, Principal Integrated Frameworks
  • Melizza Morale, Senior Design Advisor
  • Media Hakim, Design Officer
  • Rory Toomey, Principal Design Excellence

Abbie Galvin, Government Architect

Abbie commenced her role as the 24th NSW Government Architect in January 2020, and was previously a director and shareholder of one of Australia’s largest and most highly acclaimed architectural practices.

Abbie’s work is focussed on promoting the architectural quality of the built environment and making the physical world around us better for everyone through the power of great design.

She has worked for close to 30 years on public, educational, health, research and commercial projects that have been highly awarded, published and recognised internationally for bringing fresh approaches to common project types.

Projects Abbie has led have been the recipient of more than 40 state, national and international architectural awards including the RAIA Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design, the RAIA Jack McConnell Award for Public Architecture and the RAIA Blackett Prize for Regional Architecture, in addition to personal awards such as the AIA Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work in the field of Architecture.

Abbie has been involved with the profession, the Institute of Architects and the Board of Architects for many years, is a regular speaker at universities and conferences nationally and internationally and chairs and participates as an expert adviser in many design advisory panels, taskforces and awards juries.

Olivia Hyde, Director of Design Excellence
Professor of Practice (Architecture), University of Sydney

Olivia leads the GANSW Design Excellence team. She is a registered architect with diverse private sector experience on projects locally and internationally. In February 2020, Olivia was appointed as a part time Professor of Practice in Architecture at the University of Sydney. At GANSW her role oversees the development and delivery of programs to support and promote greater design quality in the built environment across the state. These include the State Design Review Panel, design excellence - including competitions, design policy advice, design guidance and urban design advisory services.

Olivia has studied, worked and taught in Australia, the USA, Asia and Europe. Prior to joining GANSW she was a Senior Practice Director at BVN Architects in Sydney and she worked for Foster and Partners in both Hong Kong and London. In addition to practice, Olivia has taught architecture studio locally and internationally and is an occasional critic for Architecture Australia.

Paulo Macchia, Director Design Governance

Paulo is responsible for the development of systemic organisational and lifecycle approaches to assure design quality and leads GANSW’s partnership with the Land and Housing Corporation, establishing and chairing the LAHC Centre for Design.

He also leads GANSW’s strategic approach to procurement. Encompassing the role of design in business cases and funding decisions, through to the procurement of built environment professionals by NSW Government agencies, including the development and management of the Government Architect’s Strategy and Design Prequalification Scheme.

Paulo is a registered architect and recipient of the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship. He has taught and been a guest critic at the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle. He has also served on industry award and Design Excellence juries and is an alternate Chair of the NSW State Design Review Panel.