Office of Queensland Government Architect

Our purpose is to support well-designed, healthy and sustainable environments to shape Queensland’s urban legacy.

The Office of The Queensland Government Architect (OQGA), led by Leah Lang, provides design leadership, advocacy and advice to governments, industry and the community. OQGA is a whole-of-government position that sits within the Department of Energy and Public Works.

From strategy to demonstration, OQGA champions well-considered design thinking to help the resolution of critical urban and city challenges around public buildings and the public realm, housing and health, education, transport and mobility. Our aim is to have the earliest possible design conversations with the public and private sectors to ensure our cities and regions are the best they can be.

Why design matters

Across the world, the link between urban design and public health is irrefutable. Design is both a process and an outcome to help create better spaces and places to enrich and enhance people’s lives.

Queensland is a vast state with a variety of landforms and climates providing a unique network of cities and towns. To be sustainable, these cities and towns need to be liveable and functional. Places that attract, engage and retain people. Places where people choose to live, grow up, and grow old.

The health and well-being of our communities depend on good design. The quality of life: safety, delight, amenity, pride, function is all part of a better design agenda to ensure our cities and towns will not be left behind and will not become vulnerable and disadvantaged in the global rivalry for investment and talent.

“Good design is not just about the aesthetic improvement of our environment, it is as much about improved quality of life, equality of opportunity and economic growth”. - Commission for Architecture and the Build Environment (CABE), The Value of Good Design

What we do

By integrating design expertise, we work across government, the private sector and the community to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for all of Queensland. Our core responsibilities include:

  • Design leadership that supports the Queensland Government Architect in promoting the value of good urban design across Queensland
  • Design Advice through collaboration with numerous design professionals to ensure that project specific advice provided is of the highest standard
  • Design thinking for resolving complex design problems in Queensland’s urban places
  • Design excellence through the promotion of best practice outcomes though a variety of projects and awards
  • Design advocacy that raises awareness of good design across the wider community by supporting and promoting a range of complimentary activities
  • Provocations that critically consider the future of places and how they can be improved to the benefit of all Queenslanders.

Our work

Our core aim is to add value while balancing design, project constraints and commercial realities. We provide tailored solutions to any strategic or project specific design challenge as demonstrated across the following sectors:

  • Housing: applying the work of the Density and Diversity Done Well Open Ideas competition to 20 demonstration housing projects and new Social Housing Guidelines.
  • Health: supporting a Healthy Places, Healthy People agenda across the wide range of Health initiatives
  • Education: promoting better design principles for Brisbane’s new Inner City High Schools and the renewal of other campuses.
  • Transport: working collaboratively to support integrated and improved public realm outcomes for our cities
  • The Arts: supporting high quality design outcomes to ensure a thriving arts culture.
  • Planning: embedding a better design agenda into planning policy including the Shaping SEQ South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017.

Queensland Government Architect

Leah Lang, an experienced Strategic Design Advisor and award-winning registered architect (FRAIA) is the Queensland Government Architect in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic Games. Notably, she served a four-year tenure as the Gold Coast City Architect, a coveted role with significant responsibility, given the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth-largest city and the nation’s second-largest Local Government Authority. Here, Leah oversaw city-wide design and planning policy and implementation — critical for the region’s sustainable growth and liveability which included supervising components of the final stages of the 2018 Commonwealth Games’ venues.

With over 25 years of experience Leah is undaunted by large-scale, complex and ambitious projects, and understands site-specific subtleties. Among her greatest strengths is Leah’s ability to unify disparate stakeholders and bring cohesion to oft-competing interests. Instrumental on both the Gold Coast Light Rail and $60.5 million Home of the Arts (HOTA) Gallery, Leah’s insights helped inform viability, minimise negative impacts on surrounding character landscapes and ensured the cultural precinct honoured the international competition-winning masterplan by ARM and Topotek1 as well as establishing initiatives like greening the city and elevating the region’s architectural quality.

Leah’s leadership and expertise is utilised through appointments to multiple high-profile design boards, panels and juries. Collectively, she leverages all of these roles to advocate and facilitate high-quality, place-responsive design and heritage outcomes.

A national role

The OQAO is a part of the Government Architects Network of Australia (GANA) which is a formalised, national collaborative group that meets annually to share valuable information and transfer knowledge and research.‚Äč

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