Our workplace culture at BVN has been nurtured and developed in much the same way we have refined our architectural processes and creativity to develop and produce better buildings. The evolution and success of our workplace culture has been achieved by investing in our people and developing The Good Stuff—new and enhanced policies that support our people to achieve the right balance in their lives. Being 100% human recognises the need to embrace wellness in our lives, to bring balance and to foster the creativity of our BVN community. Our approach, or our ‘Secret Sauce’, has been developed over many years, bringing the BVN culture to the outstanding level it is now.
On Friday 22 November, BVN was awarded the 2019 Best in Practice Prize NSW, by The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Our Secret Sauce, the elements that make BVN so special, has been acknowledged as leading the way in the field of architecture, offering an aspirational model for other practices to follow. And we couldn’t be more proud!
BVN was commended by the AIA jury, “(For) their progressive approach to all aspects of workplace culture. BVN recognises that a diverse and inclusive environment supports engagement, empowerment, and performance… There is a clear understanding that cultural change must be led from the top, and, where possible, policies and benefits are open to all staff, junior and senior. These include access to research time, flexible work, parental leave and profit sharing.”
Our culture, one that nurtures collective creativity, inclusion and diversity, and importantly supporting women, across all areas of the practice but notably in senior architectural positions, (we have four women in principal leadership including a female Co-CEO), has been the catalyst to produce exemplary architects of the likes of Abbie Galvin. Abbie is a current principal at BVN and soon to be NSW’s first female Government Architect. Abbie Galvin was awarded the 2019 Marion Mahoney Griffin Prize, celebrating Abbie’s accomplishments as a female architect and commitment to design that positively affects daily life.
The jury referred to Galvin as, “An architect for her generation. Without doubt Abbie will continue to champion a public domain and architecture that breathes an authenticity and integrity, positively affecting the daily life of our state.”
The jury also noted, “BVN has a reputation for maintaining high ratios of female leadership. Four of the ten (equally paid) principals are women.”
Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of BVN’s 100% human policies, celebrating all walks of life, cultures and ages. We have always been proud of the diverse mix of people that make BVN so strong and contribute to our collective creativity.
The jury noted, “(BVN’s diversity is) demonstrated through the active inclusion of older staff, Indigenous staff, and gender and cultural mixes through all levels of the studio. There are currently 30 nationalities within the practice, including leaders for whom English is a second language.”
Architecture is a demanding career often with long hours, an area BVN have directly targeted to assuage the pain points inherent in the industry. Our flexible working policies supporting employee wellbeing and work/life balance were noted by the jury.
“(These policies) reduce the guilt and stigma that is too often associated with flexible and part-time work by providing transparency and promoting a ‘redistributed hours’ approach,” said the jury.
Careers are nurtured through a vibrant program of events (in house salons with organisations such as Parlour, Tech and Design Talks, CPD talks), learning and development opportunities such as practice-wide workshops with leadership consultants and sponsorship of the architectural registration process.
A culture of research and experimentation is integrated into the practice through collaborations that explore alternative construction methods and experimentation with robotic fabrication.
The jury noted, “BVN actively explores future possibilities through research work that is integrated into the life and structures of the firm, conducted in partnership with universities and other institutions.”
We could not have created this culture without you, the people that make up BVN. Just as we strive to be better architects, BVN strives to create a better workplace culture for the ultimate ingredient in our Secret Sauce. You.
“It is imperative that as an industry, it is understood that we can only deliver a quality built environment by ensuring that talented people are attracted to and stay in the industry. Providing an engaging and supportive workplace and culture is at the core of what we do,” said Brian Clohessy, our Head of People and Character.