Meet the 2019 Sustainability Awards supreme judging panel

  •   11 September 2019

The term ‘supreme judging panel’ could well be perceived to be a bit bombastic, however let me be clear, this year’s judges are of a calibre that we have not yet seen at the Sustainability Awards.

That statement in no way should be given  to infer or impugn that previous panels were of a sub-par or of a lesser quality –  they were certainly not by any stretch of  the imagination.

In fact, as far back as I can remember, each and every judging panel since the inception of the Sustainability Awards way back in 2006 was of the highest level.

It’s just that this year, 2019, we have managed to achieve levels of excellence and overlapping KPIs that previously were not possible or required for that matter. By that I mean that this year’s jurist’s  panel has what many would consider to be  the perfect mix: unmatchable expertise combined with scintillating intellect, all in a group of people that are diverse in their outlook, experience and also understanding of what are the crucial elements in the sustainable built environment.

And speaking of diversity, also as a first for our judging panel, we have managed to surpass gender parity, a reflection of not only our determination to ensure a level of societal fairness and true equity in our panel, but also an indication of the talent and sheer skill of many women who are making enormous contributions to sustainability in the built environment. It is a template and a forerunner of what these awards will deliver in the future.

Following are 10 short bios and pictures of the Class of 2019 Sustainability Awards judging panel, so take a minute, have a read and get to know our esteemed and highly worthy jurists.

Dick Clarke, director & building designer, Envirotecture

Dick Clarke Envirotech

Dick Clarke is principal of Envirotecture, with over 35 years of experience focusing exclusively on ecologically sustainable and culturally appropriate buildings, as well as sustainable design in vehicles and vessels.

He is director of Sustainability for Building Designers Australia (BDA) and is a member of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC). This is Clarke’s 13th year on the panel and  he is the Jury Chair.

Jeremy Spencer, director & builder, Positive Footprints

Jeremy Spencer Positive Footprints

Jeremy Spencer is a director, builder and energy rater at Positive Footprints, a multi awardwinning design and construction company that is working to show that energy efficient sustainable design and high-performance construction is a cost-effective option and can be a mainstream reality.

Spencer is passionate about spreading the message of environmentally sustainable design, and helping bring about change in the way we build homes. To this end, he gives lectures, teaches, builds, and currently sits on the board of the Building Designers Association of Victoria, where he continues to advise and advocate for energy efficiency and broader environmental change in the built environment.

Sandra Furtado, co-founder, Furtado Sullivan

Sandra Furtado

Furtado says she enjoys the challenge of translating a project’s complexity into a design that works with its environment, combining large-scale efficiency and sophistication with a bespoke design approach. In the past, she has been involved in notable large-scale projects including 8 Chifley, Barangaroo Masterplan and International Towers, and One Circular Quay hotel in Circular Quay.

As a designer, Furtado has an extraordinary ability to understand urban complexity. Through holistic design thinking, she seeks synergies with multidisciplinary practices, harnessing collective knowledge in order to achieve goals creatively and drive the sustainability agenda.

Knut Menden, project architect, BVN

Knut Menden

Having spent the previous five years working  in Austria, Luxemburg and New Zealand, Menden’s project expertise ranges from commercial office developments, cultural and education projects to infrastructure projects. He excels across all project phases but is particularly adept at the translation of concept designs into realised construction. Menden was project architect for the Sulman Medal winning Mabel Fidler Building at Ravenswood School, and has since been involved in several significant learning and teaching projects for ACU and the Catholic Education Office.

Mahalath Halperin, director, Mahalath Halperin Architects

Mahalath Halperin

Mahalath Halperin is an architect and environmental consultant living and working in regional NSW. As well as running an architectural practice since the 1990s, addressing everything from domestic renovations through to large commercial buildings, resorts and education facilities, she also conducts energy and environmental audits and assessments, and has always tried to tie the scientific with the aesthetic to achieve highly sustainable but liveable works where possible. She has also developed and delivered courses on environmental and architectural issues, and is a published author, including a book about her cat building a house. In 2010, she established HELP – Holistic Environmental Lifestyle Planning, which looks into the big picture beyond just the physical building itself, but can also drill down to the basics, provide audits and assessments, and offers a Green Concierge Service as well.

Sara Wilkinson, built environment lecturer, UTS

Sara Wilkinson

Wilkinson is a chartered building surveyor, RICS fellow, and member of the Australian Property Institute (API) with over 35 years of experience. She has worked on public and private sector projects across various scales, from commercial due diligence reports, to pre-contract design of adaptation and adaptive reuse projects in residential and commercial property. This year she became Australia’s first female professor of property, working at the intersections of sustainability, urban development and transformation. Her research focuses on local, national and international built environments and adaptation.

Kate Harris, CEO, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA)

kate-harris CEO GECA

Kate Harris is the CEO of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) and brings an extensive background in leadership, capacity building and education aimed at finding sustainable solutions for the future.

She is on the Board of Directors of the Living Future Institute of Australia, the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS) and the Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL). Harris believes passionately in human potential and draws on her diverse experience to help individuals, organisations and communities to create a better future.

Michael Faine, registered architect, Faine Group Architects

Michael Faine has been a registered architect since 1980 and to date, has worked on a multitude
of building types, designs, construction and procurement methods.



















His diverse career led him to a teaching position at the University of Western Sydney in the Bachelor of Building/Construction Management degree and saw him acting as the Head of School for a time. After 17 years as an academic, and juror positions on both the Building Designers Association of Australia and the HIA Awards, Faine is attuned to analysing the work of builders and designers and understanding the price in the work they are carrying out.

Rory Martin, sustainability manager – Residential,  Frasers Property

Rory Martin

Previously named ‘Future Green Leader’ by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) for his ardent commitment to innovative sustainable design, Frasers Property Australia’s Rory Martin joins the judging panel for a fourth time. Responsible for the sustainability agenda of Frasers Property Australia’s large residential portfolio, Martin holds both an Honours Bachelor of Architecture and Masters of Science in Environmental Design, as well as being a registered architect and Green Star Accredited Professional.

Having previously completed projects across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia, Martin is a multi-award winning professional who has solid experience in design, consultancy, development and industry standards. Martin sensibly describes sustainable design practises as simply “good design”.

Jean Graham, director, Winter Architecture


Just over two years ago, Jean Graham established Winter Architecture, whereby  she considers herself secondary to the practice, straying away from the fulfillment of a selftitled practice. Instead, Graham has elected to translate the quiet, introspective, site-specific qualities of winter – the season – into an Architectural dictum.

With varied budgets and a range of client backgrounds, Graham and Winter Architecture have opened up the possibility of architecture to a number of clients who did not feel architecture was accessible to them, due to  low budgets, difficult site restrictions and the desire to build themselves.