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
  • Ben Hewett, Deputy Government Architect / Director Integrated Design
  • 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, Senior Design Advisor
  • Carol Marra, Senior Design Advisor
  • Caroline Peta Comino, Senior Design Advisor
  • Diana Snape, Senior Design Advisor
  • 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, Senior Design Advisor
  • Marc Lane, Principal Integrated Frameworks
  • Marissa Looby, Principal Design & Research
  • Melizza Morale, Senior Design Advisor
  • Media Hakim, Design Officer
  • Rory Toomey, Principal Design Excellence

Olivia Hyde, Director of Design Excellence

Olivia Hyde is Director of Design Excellence at GANSW (Government Architect NSW). She is a registered architect, with diverse private sector experience on projects locally and internationally. In her role with GANSW Olivia leads the development of a range of measures to support and promote greater design quality in the built environment across the state, including most recently the pilot State Design Review Panel.

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 worked for Foster and Partners in Hong Kong and London. In addition to practise, Olivia has taught locally and internationally at the University of Michigan, where she won a teaching and research fellowship, and has been a regular contributing writer for Architecture Australia.

Ben Hewett, Deputy Government Architect / Director Integrated Design

Ben Hewett is Director Integrated Design. In his role, Ben leads the office’s strategic services, including the development and implementation of the Better Placed policy, and Strategic Frameworks.

Previously, Ben was the inaugural South Australian Government Architect and Executive Director of the Integrated Design Commission and the subsequent Office for Design and Architecture SA. During this period, Ben was also Director of “5000+, an Integrated Design Strategy for inner Adelaide”, which was a national pilot project collaborating across three tiers of government, industry, academia and communities, to develop a design-based vision for Adelaide and model for urban development. Ben also established, led, and chairing over 100 panel sessions.

Ben was a Senior Lecturer with the University of Technology Sydney, leading the Professional Practice stream and numerous design studios. Ben has professional experience across small, medium and commercial architectural practice in Australia, China and Dubai.

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.