Professor Helen Lochhead

My Expertise

Urban renewal, architecture, urban housing, public spaces, parks, Sydney Harbour, sustainable regeneration


Professor Helen Lochhead is an Australian architect and urbanist.
She is an Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urbanism and formerly the Pro Vice-chancellor, Precincts providing strategic oversight and direction for all UNSW precincts and Dean, UNSW Built Environment from 2015-2020. She has held a number of influential positions in the NSW Government and the City of Sydney including Executive Director roles at Sydney Olympic Park...view more
Professor Helen Lochhead is an Australian architect and urbanist.
She is an Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urbanism and formerly the Pro Vice-chancellor, Precincts providing strategic oversight and direction for all UNSW precincts and Dean, UNSW Built Environment from 2015-2020. She has held a number of influential positions in the NSW Government and the City of Sydney including Executive Director roles at Sydney Olympic Park Authority and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, and deputy NSW Government Architect.  
Her career has focused on the inception, planning, design and delivery of complex multidisciplinary projects and public works ranging from a 5-year city improvements program for the City of Sydney leading up to the 2000 Olympics to major urban renewal and waterfront projects. She has been instrumental in shaping more major precincts around Sydney Harbour than most, including the transformation of Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay from a sports precinct into a mixed-use community and parklands with environmental credentials that set new benchmarks. More recently she led the development of 30-year plan for the transformation of Sydney Cove, the gateway to Sydney’s CBD and was instrumental in setting a new strategic vision for Sydney Harbour.
Professor Lochhead maintains a high profile in the profession and her professional contribution has been recognized through many industry awards including AIA and AILA Urban Design and Sustainability Awards, the AIA Marion Mahony Griffin Prize, the NAWIC Vision Award for leadership in the construction industry and the AIA NSW President’s Prize and the American Institute of Architects Presidents Medal. In 2019 she was named one of the AFR 100 most influential women in Australia.
High level appointments include the National President of the Australian Institute of Architects, the Independent Planning Commission, the Australian Heritage Council and competition juries and Design Review Panels across Australia and internationally. All are a testament to her standing in the profession.
A graduate of both the University of Sydney and Columbia University in New York, Professor Lochhead’s career has combined professional practice and teaching both in Australia and the United States, as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and also as visiting academic at Harvard, MIT and Columbia Universities. She has been awarded numerous Fellowships including Fulbright, Bogliasco and the Harvard Lincoln/Loeb Fellowship at the Graduate School of Design and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. 

My Qualifications

M. Sc (Architecture & Urban Design), B. Sc. Arch (Honours 1), B. Arch (Honours 1), Dip Horticulture (Honours)  

My Awards

  • Bogliasco Fellowship, The Bogliasco Foundation, Italy, April 2015
  • AIA Presidents Prize for contribution to the design of the built environment of Sydney, design education and the profession
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2013-14
  • Loeb Fellowship, Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2013-14
  • Lincoln Fellowship, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, 2013-14
  • AIA Marion Mahony-Griffin Prize 2013- for a distinctive body of work & contribution of a female architect to the profession
  • AILA National Award for leadership in adaptation to climate change and promotion of sustainable Australian
  • settlements (with OEH) 2011
  • Winston Churchill Fellowship 2010
  • National Association of Women Vision Award 2009 for leadership in the construction industry
  • Landcom Design competition winner 1996
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 1995
  • RAIA Merit Award for Urban Design 1993
  • The Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship, Board of Architects 1991
  • William Kinne Fellows Travelling Scholarship, Columbia University, New York, 1986
  • Fulbright Fellowship, 1985
  • University of Sydney Hezlet Bequest Travelling Scholarship, 1985
  • Stephenson Turner Scholarship & Medal, 1985
  • NSW Board of Architects Medallion, 1984
  • The Marten Bequest, a travelling scholarship, 1982
Public lectures/conferences
  • 2014 Lincoln Loeb lecture, Boston
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Harvard Law School
  • Forum for Climate Resilient Coasts- RPA/Lincoln Institute, Washington DC
  • SeaChange conference, Boston, keynote speaker
  • MIT Sustainability Summit, Boston: keynote speaker
  • Bruner Cott lecture, Boston
  • Boston Society of Architects, Boston
Expert Panels
  • MIT Sustainability Summit
  • Harvard Law School Program for Negotiation

Significant projects under my direction

  • Circular Quay Master Plan (SHFA)
  • Bays Precinct Strategic Framework (SHFA)
  • Walsh Bay Arts Precinct Master Plan (Arts NSW)
  • Sydney Fish Markets redevelopment and feasibility study (SPA)
  • Wentworth Point Master Plan (RMS)

My Research Activities

Examined the value of design-led processes in delivering innovative solutions to complex problems. Using the Rebuild by Design competition as a case study, this research evaluated the potential of such a process to drive innovation and deliver resiliency projects and strategies that can be implemented and leveraged to have a catalytic impact on a broader scale.
Loeb Fellowship 2013-4
Harvard Graduate School of Design and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Fellowship research focused on innovative strategies and solutions, policies and governance models, to better design and deliver more sustainable, climate resilient and liveable waterfront cities.
This included primary research, interviews, field trips, conferences and symposia and classes Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Kennedy School of Government (HKS), Harvard Business School (HBS) and Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).
Courses included:
  • Public Narrative- understanding authenticity, connecting with audience- Marshall Ganz (HKS)
  • Effective implementation: Learning from Effective Implementers- Francis Hartmann (HKS)
  • Innovating in the Public Sector- Mark Moore (HKS)
Design thinking/new technologies
  • Media Politics and Power in the Digital Age understanding social media- Nicco Mele (HKS)-
  • The innovative Practice- understanding Human Centred Design- Beth Altringer (SEAS/GSD)-
  • Design thinking and innovation- Srikant Datar (HBS)
Risk and Resilience
  • Cities and Environmental change (GSD)- Joyce Rosenthal issues, considerations and challenges
  • Design for Urban Disaster - disaster planning (GSD) David Sanderson
Enterprise Risk Management
  • Enterprise Risk Management: Strategy and Leadership in the Face of Large-Scale Uncertainties (HBS)- Dutch Leonard
Contemporary urbanism
  • Cities by Design (GSD)-, Rahul Mehrotra and others
  • Theories of Landscape as urbanism, Landscape as Infrastructure (GSD): Pierre Belanger
  • History of Landscape (GSD) Sonia Dumpelman


My Engagement


Boards & committees

  • National Council Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) 2013-2015
  • Australian Institute of Architects Foundation Board 2016-
  • Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC)- 2009-13
  • Heritage Council, NSW 2011- 13
  • City of Sydney City Plan Review Committee 2010-11
  • NSW Architects Registration Board (Deputy) 2009-
  • Metropolitan Strategy Review: 2009-
  • National Trust of Australia (NSW) Board Member 1997-2011
  1. Conservation Committee
  2. Properties Committee
  • North Sydney Design Excellence Panel 2010-
  • Parramatta Design Excellence Panel 2011-
  • Sutherland Council Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) 2004-2011
  • Premier’s Inter-departmental committee on Affordable Housing 2005: SOPA delegate
  • ACT Planning and Land Council 2003-2006
  • South Sydney Development Corporation Design Panel 2001-2004
  • NPWS Sydney Harbour National Park Advisory Council 2000-2004
  • Gungahlin Development Authority Board Member 1996-2003
  1. Residential land release sub-committee
  2. Commercial land release sub-committee
  • Australian Institute of Architects NSW (AIA)
  1. Environment Board 1994-1996
  2. Chair, Urban Design Committee 1994-1996
  • AIA/ National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Mentor Program

Design review

  • Sydney International Convention Exhibition & Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP): Design Review Panel (2012- Perth Waterfront Design Advisory Panel 2011-2012
  • Design Assessment Panel for the South Morang Rail Extension Project, Victoria, 2011-15
  • North Sydney Design Excellence Panel 2011-2013
  • City of Parramatta Design Excellence Panel 2011-2013
  • NSW Transport Construction Authority Design and Sustainability Review Panel 2009-
  • University of NSW Campus Design Advisory Panel 2009-
  • Port Adelaide Waterfront Design Review Panel 2007-9
  • University of Western Australia Arts precinct design workshop 2008
  • Sullivan’s Cove Authority, Hobart Rail yards Master Plan review 2008
  • Alkimos: new planned community in WA Design workshop & peer review 2007
  • Northbridge Link: Perth Design workshop 2007
  • Mounts Bay Peer Design Review Panel, Perth 2007
  • Sydney Harbour Design Review Panel 1998-2008
  • Festival Development Corporation Design Review Panel 2001-2007
  • Sydney Olympic Park Authority Design Review Panel 2003-2006

Design competition & awards juries

  • Future Cities workshop; New Museum New York 2014
  • Australian Institute of Architects Awards Jury 2013, Chair (Public Buildings and Urban Design)
  • RTA (Department of Transport) Design Awards 2009-2010
  • Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Awards Jury NSW 2010 (Multi-Unit Housing)
  • Australian Cement and Concrete Association (ACCA) Design Awards
  • Powerhouse Museum extension competition 2010
  • Woollahra Heritage Awards 2011
  • Mosman Design Awards 2010
  • Canterbury Design Awards 2009
  • Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards juries, 2008, 2009
  • National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Design Awards 2008
  • University of NSW: various major project competitions 2009-11
  • East Darling Harbour International Design Competition (Baranagaroo) Melbourne ZooGiba Park, Darling Island Pyrmont Point: multiple projects
  • Mt Penang Parklands


Executive Director, Place Development, (2012–2013)
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA)


  • Reporting to the CEO and Board responsible for leadership of a multi disciplinary team of professionals (including development managers, project managers, architects, heritage specialists, urban designers, landscape architects, asset planning and support staff)
  • Lead of interagency government taskforces, high-level negotiation and stakeholder engagement, working with Government Ministers, Boards and Government Executive
  • Responsible for direction, inception and delivery of strategic planning and urban renewal of key foreshore precincts and sites around Sydney Foreshores. Responsible for conservation and adaptive re-use of significant heritage buildings and design and delivery of capital program including infrastructure and public domain
  • Member of the SHFA Executive team, contributing to strategic direction and planning, business development and management

Major projects 

  • Circular Quay Strategic Framework (leadership and facilitation of inter-agency projects)
  • Bays Precinct Strategic Framework (leadership and facilitation of inter-agency projects)
  • White Bay Power Station adaptive re-use
  • Rozelle Rail Yards Master Plan
  • Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP): project review and advice

Deputy Government Architect, Government Architect’s Office (GAO) 2007-2015

  • Management of a multi disciplinary team of 170+ design professionals and support staff (including architects, heritage specialists, urban designers, landscape architects) providing consultancy services to Government agencies on a full commercial basis. Annual revenue $24million
  • Responsible for Architecture &Specialist Design strategic direction, financial planning, business development, marketing and promotion
  • Provided leadership within GAO to promote high quality, sustainable design projects & services
  • Provided strategic design advice to the Government Architect and Government clients
  • Provided high-level advice to Government Ministers
  • Member of the GAO Executive and deputy to Government Architect

 Major Achievements

  • Gained over 30 new Federal, State &Local Government clients for GAO in NSW and interstate
  • Expanded services in urban renewal projects, housing, urban design, sustainability & climate change adaptation, risk and resilience
  • Providing independent expert advice to 5 interstate agencies on large scale strategic projects and Internationally to Christchurch redevelopment agencies post-Earthquake and Taiwan on planning sustainably in world heritage places.
  • Project Director on all significant strategic projects.
  • Introduced in-house various professional development programs for staff including Architectural Registration program, Young Professionals Development program, Mentoring program, Gender Equity Strategy-job sharing to enhance professional development
  • Public Works product development: sustainability and climate change
  • Raised profile of GAO through participation in conferences, panels, professional development series, competition juries for design awards, AIA/NAWIC mentoring program, Sydney Architecture Festival, University teaching, Churchill Fellowship 06
  • Professional and industry recognition for achievements through numerous industry awards 

Significant projects under my direction

  • Circular Quay Master Plan (SHFA)
  • Bays Precinct Strategic Framework (SHFA)
  • Walsh Bay Arts Precinct Master Plan (Arts NSW)
  • Sydney Fish Markets redevelopment and feasibility study (SPA)
  • Wentworth Point Master Plan (RMS)
  • Redfern Waterloo Built Environment Plan review (SMDA)
  • Parliament House Ministerial accommodation (SPA)
  • NSW State Library Master Plan and refurbishment (SLNSW)
  • Newtown Station upgrade (Railcorp)
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge and Windsor Bridges urban design (RTA)
  • Orange Integrated Cultural Centre, Museum, Library and Art Gallery (Orange City Council)
  • Wollongong Town Hall refurbishment and Civic Precinct Master Plan (Wollongong Council)
  • Harold Park Master Plan (City of Sydney)
  • North Parramatta Government Precinct Master Plan (Landcom)
  • Immigration Museum feasibility (DPC/SPA)
  • Parramatta Educational Precinct (DET)
  • Oran Park Town Centre Schools Strategy (Landcom/DET)
  • Westmead Health Education Precinct: uplift potential due to Metro station
  • Large Residential Centres Strategic Alignment: 3 Master plans (ADHC)
  • Greencover Demonstration project (DECC)

Executive Director, Sustainability, Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2004-2006

  • Member of the SOPA Executive team reporting to CEO and Board
  • Management of a multi disciplinary team of professional and support staff (including architects, planners, urban designers, public art manager, landscape architects, building surveyors, engineers, quantity surveyors, environmental scientists and project managers)
  • Management of the Business Unit including budget development and management, resourcing, training, OH& S etc
  • Management of consultants: Briefing, budgets, time management
  • Leadership and management of inter-divisional teams and multidisciplinary projects
  • Inception, planning, design, stakeholder management and contract management of all SOPA development, parkland and capital projects
  • Development of planning, urban design policy & design standards
  • Formulation of master plan and development controls
  • Ongoing planning and design advice with regard to proposals put to SOPA
  • Planning and building assessment and approvals
  • Delivery of $25 million Parkland capital works program
  • Developer negotiation: various projects
  • Government Agency liaison: Ministerial briefings, high-level negotiations with Department of Planning, RTA,
  • Parramatta and Auburn Council, Waterways 

Major Achievements

  • Master Plan 2025, developed new vision and Master Plan for Sydney Olympic Park including Stakeholder consultation, transport /traffic strategy, development feasibility, public domain strategy, implementation strategies, Infrastructure Funding Plan, SREP amendment etc: Project Director
  • Inception and delivery of parklands capital works program including Brick pit Ring Walk, Blaxland Common, Wentworth Common, The Eventful Path and other projects. Numerous AILA and AIA awards for these projects
  • Policy development: energy and waste management and affordable housing strategy

Director, Helen Lochhead Urban Projects Pty Ltd 1996-2006

  • Design direction, business development and client management
  • Co-ordination and management of multidisciplinary teams and projects on time and budget
  • Architecture, urban design, landscape design, strategies, master planning, guidelines, DCPs, advisor, stakeholder consultation and management


  • Multiple Master plans, DCPs including Rozelle Hospital & Gladesville Hospital Master Plans, Rouse Hill Town Centre, Mascot Station Precinct, public domain & multi unit housing projects


  • State Government: Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Department of Planning / Urban Design Advisory Service (UDAS),
  • City West Development Corporation, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Landcom, ACT Land Development Agency
  • Local Government: City of Sydney, Willoughby, Canterbury, Manly, Woollahra Kogarah Council
  • Private sector: Multiplex, Pongrass Industries, Australia Designer Homes

Manager, Urban Design, 1992-5
Director, Special Projects, 1995-96, City of Sydney


  • Management of a multi disciplinary team of professional and support staff
  • Management of consultants: Briefing, budgets, time management
  • Co-ordination and management of interdepartmental teams (Engineering, Parks, Properties, Planning) and multi-disciplinary projects
  • Inception, planning, design, stakeholder management and contract management of all projects in the public domain, Open Museum and public art program
  • Development of Urban Design policy, Controls & Design Standards, Public Art Policy
  • Ongoing urban design advice with regard to proposals put to council 

Major Achievements

  • City Improvements Program: inception, development, programming and budgeting of five-year capital works program in preparation for the Sydney Olympics ($250 million)
  • Sydney Spaces: 29 concepts for the city’s streets, squares and parks: project director, exhibition curator & managing editor of publication, canvassing over 50 designers’ ideas for Sydney’s public realm. Distributed internationally. 

Consultant, Architecture, Urban & Landscape Design 1988-91 

  • Sydney Cove Authority, Sydney:​
  1. Various award winning public domain projects in The Rocks, Sydney
  • Jackson Teece Chesterman & Willis, Sydney:
  1. University of NSW Master Plan, Richmond TAFE Master Plan
  • EEK Architects, New York:
  1. Downtown Honolulu waterfront redevelopment: urban design framework & water use plan  

EEK Architects (now Perkins Eastman) New York, 1983-88
Major Achievements

  • Kips Bay housing: design guidelines, New York (2.5 ha in Manhattan, 2000 apartments $324 million development)
  • Newport City, New Jersey: Master plan, open space design & development guidelines for mixed-use development on the Hudson River (160ha $10 billion development)
  • La Guardia Airport, New York: Urban design guidelines ($30 million redevelopment)
  • Fells Point, Baltimore: Master plan & development guidelines for a mixed-use waterfront development (10 acres, $120 million development)
  • The Pike, Long Beach, California: Master plan for mixed-use development (5.2 ha $1.2 billion)
  • Festival Marketplace, Birmingham, England: Schematic design for a mixed commercial waterfront development 


My Teaching

  • Paul Reid and Utzon lectures 2016 : UNSW Reimagining the Harbour City
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design: Regenerating urban waterfronts: various lectures, 2013-4
  • Harvard University Law School, Program on Negotiation: Negotiation and Planning: various lectures, 2013-4
  • MIT Sustainability Summit 2014: guest speaker and panelist
  • Sea Change Boston 2014: Guest speaker and panelist
  • Lincoln Institute: Lincoln Loeb lecture 2014: The Design Dividend in Building Resilience
  • BSA lecture 2014: Resilience in waterfront cities
  • Boston University, Sydney campus Sustainable Sydney lecture series 2013
  • NZIA/Christchurch Civic Trust Public Lecture in Christchurch: Lesson from Sustainable Cities: to inform the future planning of Christchurch post Earthquake. Christchurch, NZ 2012
  • NCCARF National Adaptation Conference, Melbourne: keynote speaker 2012
  • Smart Cities conference, Sydney: keynote speaker 2012
  • Architecture Australia Roundtable: public forum on Risk, UTS, 2011
  • University of Sydney public lecture series 2011: Facilitating sustainability and design excellence
  • Sydney Architecture Festival, Pecha Kucha talk, 2011
  • Planning in Sydney: public lecture and debate, Woollahra Festival 2011
  • Green roofs: City of Sydney 2011
  • UNSW Lectures in Urban Design & Professional Practice 2009-2010
  • Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) National Conference, keynote speaker 2010
  • NSW Land and Environment Court Annual Conference, keynote speaker 2009
  • Conversations in the Cove Keynote Speaker Hobart 2008
  • Museum of Sydney (MoS) Panel discussion 2007
  • ICTC (International Cities and Towns Conference), keynote speaker 2006
  • Department of Planning Greater Western Sydney Parklands Forum 2005
  • PIA NSW Conference, keynote speaker 2005
  • Inaugural Green Building Conference, keynote speaker 2003
  • Museum of Sydney, Private vs Public symposium, keynote speaker 2001
  • Shaping the Future of Place, RAIA conference, keynote speaker 2000
  • City Edge Conference, Melbourne, keynote speaker 1999
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Red Centre, Room 5017


+61 2 9385 4768
+61 2 9385 6264