Architectus actively builds relationships with First Nations communities to make reconciliation more tangible in our practice, our design process, and our built work. We operate on a foundation of respect, communication and trust and put our intentions into action through our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Reconciliation Australia’s RAP framework provides us with a structured approach to build and encourage reconciliation.
In 2020 we established our first Reflect RAP with the aim of deepening our understanding from acknowledgment to listening, learning, and working with First Nations peoples in our practice and in our projects. This has profoundly impacted the way we work.
We renewed our RAP in 2022 and reaffirmed our commitment to reconciliation through deeper relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, groups, organisations, and businesses.
In 2023, we submitted our Innovate RAP to Reconciliation Australia, one of only a handful of design practices in Australia that have progressed to this stage. We also commissioned First Nations artist Katie West to create an artwork for our Innovate RAP, which we will be launching later later this year.
Until then, you can download the Architectus Reflect RAP.
“Our work experience programs are about more than attracting First Nations students into design. Even small things can make an impact, like a project that fascinates a student and benefits them in some way. We think about the wider community – and how our work might help people in general.”
Action by practice
We are piloting work experience programs specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students and working with industry peers on initiatives such as the First Nations Runway at the 2023 PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Relationships and principles
We enter into conversations and collaborations with First Nations designers, advisors, artists, and communities. We also strive to incorporate First Nations design principles, artworks, and wisdom into our projects.
We are guided by the principles of the Australian Indigenous Design Charter, particularly when it comes to Indigenous-led design input, community specific cultural protocols, impacts of design, and shared knowledge methodologies for all levels of engagement.
First Nations cultural learning
Our practice recognises that education and awareness are an important part of the pathway to reconciliation.
All Architectus employees participate in a form of First Nations cultural awareness training, whether that’s the SBS Inclusion Program, industry-based professional development, or small group education settings. This work gives employees the opportunity to:
– Improve their knowledge of the importance of First Nations history, culture, and spirituality
– Understand the impact of colonisation and the trauma felt by Stolen Generations
– Develop an appreciation for the concept of First Nations family and kinship
– Learn to how to establish meaningful relationships with First Nations peoples and groups, and
– Understand how to work collaboratively with First Nations groups to continue our reconciliation process as individuals and as a business.