Government Architect NSW (GANSW) is led by Olivia Hyde, Acting Government Architect alongside the executive team:

  • Ben Hewett, Deputy Government Architect
  • Lee Hillam - Acting Director of Design Excellence
  • Paulo Macchia, Director Design and Housing

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

Members of the team include:

  • Alicia Pozniak, Senior Design & Research Advisor
  • Angus Bell, Senior Design Advisor
  • Barbara Schaffer, Principal Landscape Architect
  • Darlene van der Breggen, Strategic Design Advisor
  • Diana Snape, Senior Design Advisor
  • Dillon Kombumerri, Principal Architect
  • Emma Kirkman, Manager Design Review
  • Gabriela Heesh, Executive Assistant to Government Architect
  • Gail Fletcher, Project Support Officer
  • George Savoulis, Senior Design Advisor
  • Jane Threlfall, Principal Urban Designer
  • Marc Lane, Strategic Urban Designer
  • Marissa Looby, Principal Design & Research
  • Media Hakin, Project Officer Design Review
  • Michelle Washington, Principal Engagement & Policy
  • Michael Holt, Senior Design & Research Advisor
  • Nagham Al Katta, Financial & Administrative Coordinator
  • Rory Toomey, Principal Design Excellence


New role for Peter Poulet, 23rd NSW Government Architect

Peter Poulet resigned as the 23rd NSW Government Architect in September 2018 following his appointment as the Central City District Commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) by NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, Peter will lead the GSC in delivering the NSW Government’s vision for Sydney’s future.

We congratulate Peter on his appointment to this important role. We take this opportunity to acknowledge his enormous contribution to the role of NSW Government Architect and, previously, for over 20 years across several senior and executive positions in the former Government Architects Office.

Peter refocused the role of the 200-year-old organisation from designing and delivering buildings and spaces to providing independent, strategic advice and championing the need for good design in the built environment. Most notably, Peter spearheaded the development of the State’s first design policy Better Placed: An Integrated Design Policy for the Built Environment of New South Wales. This, coupled with the inclusion of a new object in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, to stipulate ‘good design and amenity’ as distinct and imperative. Under Peter’s guidance, GANSW has recently produced the green infrastructure policy Greener Places: An Urban Green Infrastructure Policy for New South Wales, and established the NSW State Design Review Panel pilot program.

GANSW and the Department of Planning wish Peter every success in his new position.

Olivia Hyde, Acting Government Architect

Olivia Hyde is currently Acting Government Architect. She is a registered architect and has worked on a wide range of project types and scales across Australia and internationally, including schools, libraries and hospitals, infrastructure, urban design, master planning and small-scale works. Projects include the AIA Lloyd Rees Urban Design award winning Taronga Zoo Upper Entrance, for BVN Architecture.

In her role as Director of Design Excellence, Olivia has overseen the development of a range of measures to support and promote design quality in the built environment, including the pilot State Design Review Panel. Olivia has studied, worked, taught and lectured in Australia, North America, Asia, and Europe. Prior to joining GANSW, she was a Senior Practice Director at BVN in Sydney. She worked for several years at Foster and Partners in Hong Kong and London and held a research and teaching fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Ben Hewett, Deputy Government Architect

Ben Hewett is the Deputy Government Architect and Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney. Ben leads the office’s strategic services, including the development and implementation of Better Placed.

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, and industry, academia and communities, to develop a design-based vision for Adelaide and model for urban development. Ben also established, led, and chaired South Australia’s Design Review Program.

Ben was a Senior Lecturer with the University of Technology Sydney, and has experience across small, medium and commercial architectural practice.

Lee Hillam, Acting Director Design Excellence

Lee is a registered architect and co-director at Dunn & Hillam Architects, which has an award-winning portfolio of sustainable and heritage projects through regional and rural Australia as well as metropolitan Sydney.

Lee joined GANSW in 2016 and brings her continued involvement in the industry as an architect to her work with government. Lee has led the development of the Draft Design Guide for Heritage, coordinated the Missing Middle Design Competition, chaired the State Design Review Panel and participated in many review panels across NSW.

Lee has previously taught at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney and is a past chair of the National Gender Equity Committee for the Australian Institute of Architects.

Paulo Macchia, Director Design & Housing

Paulo is responsible for developing government agency partnerships and leading GANSW’s approach to the procurement of built environment professionals by NSW Government agencies.

He is registered architect with experience defining and delivering innovative and strategic projects in both the public and privates sectors. He has taught and been a guest critic at the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney and University of Newcastle.

Paulo brings insight into governance approaches with project objectives.